To establish the sovereign rights on the country's sea territory, the cabinet on Monday has approved, in principle, the draft of ‘Bangladesh Maritime Zones Act-2019’.
According to information, with the enactment of Bangladesh Maritime Zones Act-2019, the country will be able to excercise its sovereign rights on its sea territory including to the inland waters and water column superjacent to the seabed, extend contiguous zones and exclusive economic zones up to 200 nautical miles and explore the sea resources in the Continent up to 350 nautical miles.
Besides, the Act will also help to curb the crimes at sea including the piracy, sea-terrorism, sea-pollution and to control the illegal vessel movement. Also, the Act will play an effective role in conducting marine scientific research and reap the benefit of sea management and the maritime resources.
The cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, gave the policy approval to the Act on Monday. The Maritime Zones Act-2019 has been upgraded by amending the Maritime Law of 1974.
Foreign Ministry sources informed, the amended Act is emphasizing on the importance of proper management and the proper utilisation of the sea and marine resources for future economic growth and development of the country. Besides, sea transport and communication, fisheries and livestock, fuel security, shipbuilding and shipbreaking industry, the making of skilled manpower, tourism and the environment will get the top priority.
The Ministry of Information sources, however, disclosed earlier there were nine clauses in the Maritime Law of 1974, at present, there are 116 clauses in the new Act. The draft of the amended Act specifies the extent of the total sea-boundary and the measures to regulate the movement of domestic and foreign vessels.and the ways to harness sea resources.
After approval of the Bangladesh Maritime Zones Act-2019, foreign submarines, warships and vessels will require permission from the authority concerned during passing through the sea boundary of Bangladesh. If any warship, military aircraft, vessels are operated for non-commercial purposes and drowned into cited sea boundary, those will be regarded as the country’s assets. Entering of any vessel carrying nuclear or other wastes into the country’s boundary will be regarded as a criminal act and be liable to punishment, As per the Act, no one will be allowed to conduct any research on the mentioned sea territory.