Yearly 1350 fishermen lose lives in sea
Special Correspondent: Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard have failed to ensure safety of fishermen in sea during their sea resources harvesting, said the fishermen and fishing boat owners.
Despite the full-time operations in the sea of the two naval security agencies, an average 1,350 fishermen die every year in sea during fishing, mostly by the attack of dacoit, rough weather, and killing by miscreants.
An average of 1,350 fishermen die every year on the country’s coast and marine waters due to various reasons including adverse weather and piracy. Others crossed international waters due to hostile weather and were detained by the coast guard of neighboring countries and suffered various hardships including imprisonment. Because of this, for the overall safety of fishing boats and trawlers in the coastal waters, urgent initiatives have been taken to bring them under the vessel monitoring and tracking system, said the concerned.
According to Ministry of Fisheries and Animal Resources sources, a large number of commercial vessels or fishing trawlers, mechanical and wooden engine boats are engaged in fishing in the coastal and marine waters of the country. Many fishermen lost their lives due to bad sea weather or being victims of piracy while fishing. According to the information of the Coast Guard and related parties, an average of 1,350 fishermen die in this way every year. In many cases even more than that are reported to have died. Again
many vessels engaged in fishing accidentally cross international waters and encroach into the waters of neighboring countries. As a result, they were detained by the coast guard of those countries and suffered various hardships including long imprisonment. That is why initiatives have been taken to ensure safety and navigational equipment including GPS (Global Positioning System) and VHF (Very High Frequency) sets at the time of registration or licensing for the overall safety of all vessels engaged in fishing in the coastal and marine waters of the country. So that the overall safety of fishing boats and trawlers can be ensured by bringing under vessel monitoring system and tracking.
Those concerned said that the directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs have said that to ensure the overall safety of sea-going Bangladeshi fishing boats and trawlers and to avoid unpleasant incidents related to crossing international waters, registration of boats and trawlers for tracking and monitoring all sea-going Bangladeshi fishing boats, trawlers and trawlers within the country’s coastal and maritime jurisdiction. And at the time of issuing license, it should be ensured that GPS, HF, VHF, AIS (Automatic Identification System), GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) are set.
According to the Coast Guard, Bangladeshi fishing boats and trawlers going coastal or sea sometimes get lost due to bad weather. Many times, they cross the sea border of Bangladesh and accidentally enter the sea border of the neighboring country. For this reason, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Bangladesh and India in 2015 to prevent illegal activities including piracy and enhance mutual cooperation. To ensure the safety of sea-going Bangladeshi fishing boats and trawlers, it is necessary to write the name and registration number of the boats on the cabin top. Then with maritime patrol aircraft or helicopters of Bangladesh Navy or Air Force and in the future if maritime patrol aircraft or helicopters are purchased for Bangladesh Coast Guard, it will be possible to quickly identify fishing boats. It will be easy to locate and rescue the boats that have been damaged during natural calamities. Apart from this, measures can be taken to install Disaster Alert Transmitter (DAT) like the neighboring country India in order to quickly identify and rescue the boats in disaster.
A project for tracking or monitoring sea-going commercial vessels is also reported to have been taken up by the Ministry of Shipping. Those concerned believe that if the project of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is coordinated with that project, it will be easier to monitor fishing vessels in the sea more effectively.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock has already undertaken a mega project called ‘Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project (SCMFP)’ to bring commercial, mechanized and artisanal fishing vessels under monitoring and tacking and ensure the safety of fishermen. With the financing of the World Bank, work is being done through this project since 2019 with the aim of developing coastal and marine fisheries. Under this project, a fishing vessel monitoring system has already been installed in Patenga, Chittagong using the bandwidth of Bangabandhu-1 satellite to strengthen the monitoring, control, surveillance (MCS) system in Bangladesh’s sea limits. Also, a Joint Monitoring Center (JMC) has been set up in Chittagong to represent all concerned parties.
Manish Kumar Mandal, deputy project director of this project, told Daily Industry that there are three types of vessels under the vessel monitoring system. No vessel is allowed to sail without a fitness certificate. 8,400 devices have already been installed on small boats for monitoring. But the whole system is not yet complete. The software still has some work to do. But we can see the boats now. Monitoring is done through GSM based mobile network. Through this, the ships at a distance of about 50 km from the sea coast are also being monitored.
He said, “However, the monitoring work that will be done through satellite has not been completed yet.” After that, it will be possible to monitor the vessels located 150 km from the coast through AIS or Automatic Identification System.
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