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14 February, 2018 10:10:01 AM

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More hardware to raise Coast Guard capability

Deepak Acharjee
More hardware to raise Coast Guard capability

After 22 years of the formation of the Bangladesh Coast Guard, the government is planning to arm the paramilitary force to become a full “two-dimensional force” by purchasing an all-weather capable ship, hovercraft, drone, helicopter and maritime patrol aircraft soon.

The Coast Guard is also going to install a “long-range identification tracking/ and vessel-trafficking monitoring and information system” to increase its capacity, sources said. Bangladesh Coast Guard authorities have prepared a strategic plan to purchase the heavy military hardware, the sources added.

The strategic plan covering short-, mid- and long-term periods would be implemented by 2030.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told The Independent that the government wanted to build a full-fledged force within the shortest possible time and that’s why they were planning to raise its capacity. “We have already enacted the Bangladesh Coast Guard Act 2016 to make it a modern and digital paramilitary coastal force. The required equipment, ships and other vessels would be purchased for this purpose,” he added.

A senior official of the Coast Guard disclosed that they needed the required equipment, manpower and money to implement the strategic plan. “So far, we have purchased four offshore patrol vessels, seven inshore patrol vessels, two fast patrol boats, one floating crane and two tag boats for conducting operations along the coast,” he said, adding that they were also going to purchase 12 high speed boats soon.

He claimed that they were making a return of Tk. 10 for every Tk. 1 spent by the government on the paramilitary force.

The officer said that the force has made seizures worth Tk. 6,800 crore in the past 22 years.“We've also seized various smuggled items worth Tk. 650 crore and 600 smuggled arms. Besides, we've recovered forest assets to the tune of Tk. 90 crore and also arrested 1,500 criminals,” he added.

Sources said the coastal force wanted to raise its capacity by setting up an aviation wing with 10 modern helicopters and also run the force under the proposed three regional headquarters within the short-term plan (2015 to 2020).

According to the short-term plan, the existing manpower strength of 3,305 would be raised to 6,197. The force will also have three branches, six directorates, three regional headquarters, two more zonal headquarters, one hospital, four composite stations, two pollution control vessels, seven inshore patrol vessels, eight offshore patrol vessels, 38 big high-speed boats and two combat ferry boats.

The long-range identification and tracking (LRIT)/vessel-trafficking monitoring system (VTMIS) would be installed for surveillance on ships and other vessels along the coast under the short-term plan.

Under the mid-term plan (2020-2025), one aviation wing, one aviation and technical training base each, three more riverine patrol vessels, two more pollution control vessels, 30 more high-speed boats, two water jet scooters, six helicopters and six unmanned aerial vehicles would be procured. During that period, the coastal force will be able to raise its capacity to help the Bangladesh Navy during war or whenever necessary.

For the long term (2025-2030), the paramilitary force plans to raise its capacity fully to run a two-dimensional force. The force would carry out surveillance on all maritime areas by installing the long- range identification and tracking (LRIT)/vessel-trafficking monitoring system (VTMIS).

The role of the Coast Guard is to preserve the country’s interests at sea, protect fisheries, prevent illegal immigration through the sea, control pollution, control piracy, prevent smuggling, trafficking of illegal arms, drugs and narcotics, carry out disaster relief, search and rescue operations, preserve forests, and conduct surveillance over the country’s maritime areas. 

SI

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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