The Department of Shipping on Thursday signed a deal with Korea EXIM Bank to take Tk 282.75 crore loan for the implementation of a project aimed at ensuring safety of vessels and improving their rescue operation in the sea in time of distress.
The government of Bangladesh will contribute Tk 88.14 crore for implementation of the project titled ‘Establishment of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System and Integrated Maritime Navigation System with an overall cost of Tk 370.89 core.
The Department of Shipping will set up lighthouses and radio centres at four spots-- Nijhum Dwip in Noakhali, Dhalchar in Bhola, Kuakata in Patuakhali and at Dublarchar in Bagerhat district-- in addition to refurbishing the present three lighthouses at Cox’s Bazar, Saints Matin’s Island and Kutubdia.
Coordination in rescue of passengers, different maritime vessels and related operations would be enhanced with the development of integrated data exchange system while maritime distress and safety system would be improved once the project is completed in 2018.
Hundreds of fishing trawlers and local and foreign ships in the coastal areas will get advance signal of probable storm while the system would provide safety measures for rescue if anybody falls in danger or storm in the sea.
Shipping minister Shajahan Khan, who was present during the loan signing ceremony at the secretariat, said that it was mandatory for the country to implement the project as per commitment to the International Maritime Organisation.
The country runs the risk of being relegated in the IMO standard unless it brought improvements in the maritime operation by vessels, he noted.
As over 80 per cent of the country’s export and import trades worth nearly $75 billion annually are sea-borne any negative impression about the country’s maritime safety would affect the business.
The Department of Shipping director general Syed Ariful Islam and Kim Kyeonggu, chief representatives of the Korea EXIM Bank in Dhaka and Jeong Woonyeol, vice president of LG-Samhee Consortium, signed the agreement on behalf of the respective sides.
Shipping ministry officials said LG-Samhee Consortium would supply equipments and install light houses under the projects as per lending condition of the Korea Exim Bank.
They said South Korea government has been providing loans for the project at an interest rate of .01 per cent with the repayment period being 40 years.
It is expected that revenue from the light houses would be doubled with the completion of the project.
At present, three light houses generate Tk 10 crore as revenue.
In 2014, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council gave approval to the project.
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