CHITTAGONG, Feb 3: The Western Marine Shipyard won the Best Large Patrol Boat Builder 2017 award for exporting the high-tech offshore patrol vessel 'Doria' to the Kenyan Ministry of Fisheries.
The recognition has been accorded to the Western Marine Shipyard Ltd, the country's leading shipbuilding yard, by Baird Maritime, a highly reputed maritime publication platform that records deliveries of high-end patrol boats throughout the globe.
The Doria is a 5.4 metre long Overseas Patrol Vessel (OPV) equipped with modern technology and hybrid propulsion system. Hybrid propulsion system incorporates use of controllable pitch propellers along with water-jet thrusters which enable the vessel to achieve such high speed of 35 knots (65 kilo meters) an hour.
This is the first time an OPV of such high speed and standard has been built and exported from Bangladesh. The project cost was approximately $ 18 million and was delivered to the Kenyan authorities in September 2017.
The OPV Doria is now operating in the Kenyan waters and is expected to be commissioned shortly by the President of Kenya. Furthermore, the OPV will be used to protect national fisheries stock and the Blue Economy of the Kenyan Maritime Territory.
Despite slump ship building orders in the global arena the WMShL managed its way through and secured the order and delivered the vessel up to the full satisfaction of the owners and the classification society Bureau Veritas.
While talking to the reporters, managing director of the WMShL Md Sakhawat Hossain said that Bangladesh now enjoys sovereign rights over an extended maritime boundary of 118,000 square kilo meter that has led to the emergence of Blue Economy in Bangladesh. The Blue Economy of Bangladesh has potentials for oil and gas exploration, marine aquaculture, tourism, fishing, fish harvesting etc. The extended maritime boundary shall need protection and surveillance programmes. For such vast expanse of the sea area, OPVs, patrol boats and armoured vessels will be needed for deployment.
This is a very dominant area for the OPV industry, particularly for Bangladesh and its Blue Economy sector where Western Marine Shipyard will play a vital role as it has proven its capability through the export of the OPV Doria that such complex ships can be built in Bangladesh provided proper government support and policies are implemented, he said.
He stated that the local and export-oriented ship building industry needs policy support from the government since the capital-intensive sector is facing challenges mainly because of high-cost funds.
When many ship builders in the world have gone bankrupt Western Marine Shipyard in Bangladesh is currently in the process of building 32 ships for the countries such as Norway, India, the Netherlands as well as some government and private organizations in Bangladesh.
It is worthwhile to mention that the company has alone exported 31 ships to 12 countries in the world, and has earned $ 151 million of inward remittance for the country till today, which is around 89 per cent of the total remittance that has been earned by the entire ship building industry of Bangladesh.
Engineer Sakhawat Hossain said if the government extends support to the local ship building industry with the supportive policy it could be as successful as the readymade garment sector very soon and support in achieving Vision 2021 and middle-income country (MIC) status for Bangladesh.