Bangladeshi and American maritime partnership has made the Bay of Bengal ‚Äúmore secure‚Äù, the US ambassador in Dhaka has said.
Dan Mozena on Tuesday said Bangladesh could slash piracy at the Bay of Bengal by 70 percent, an achievement that he said brought the shipping insurance rates down by 40 percent.
‚ÄúChittagong is no longer listed as a high-risk seaport,‚Äù he said at the closing of the fourth US and Bangladesh joint naval exercise at Chittagong.
According to him, Bangladesh‚Äôs success in securing its maritime borders and its vast maritime domain is ‚Äúgood for all nations that support freedom of the seas‚Äù.
‚ÄúSafe and secure sea lanes are vital for the economic well-being of the people of Bangladesh, the people of America, and the people of South Asia,‚Äù he said, adding that those sea lanes today were ‚Äúever more safe‚Äù.
The annual exercise known as Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) is the bilateral exercise series between US Navy and nine countries of the South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of this exercise mostly focused on non-traditional threats that littoral countries face including disasters and piracy.
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral AMM Aurangzeb Chowdhury at the closing ceremony said the exercise helped Bangladesh Navy to enhance their professional skills.
He said in the present world, threats were trans-national in nature that needed co-operation and partnership of all.
‚ÄúThe (exercise) outcome was splendid,‚Äù he said.
This year‚Äôs exercise was special to Bangladesh Navy as the US Navy‚Äôs newest and most advanced P-8 marine aircraft joined the six-day exercise that took place both on shore and off the Bay of Bengal.
The P-8 aircraft is a specially designed naval aircraft that conducts both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, among its numerous roles.
During the exercise in the Bay, the US Navy‚Äôs diving ship ‚ÄòSafeguard‚Äô joined the Bangladesh Navy‚Äôs BNS Bangabandhu, BNS Somudro Joy and AW-109 naval helicopter.
Somudro Joy, which was a US Coast Guard cutter before being transferred to Bangladesh last year, joined this training for the first time.
Ambassador Mozena said Bangladesh and America were both ‚Äúmaritime powers‚Äù.
‚ÄúExercises like CARAT help our respective navies get to know each other better, understand each other better, and learn from each other to defend the maritime domain against those who seek to do us harm.‚Äù
The US has helped Bangladesh to set up a naval commando base Special Warfare, Diving and Salvage Command (SWADS) than can response rapidly to any maritime situation.
It has also provided 16 high-speed boats to Bangladesh Navy and Bangladesh Coast Guard.
The ambassador said joint efforts of the navy and coastguards helped to slash piracies.
He said his country‚Äôs partnership with Bangladesh helped it ‚Äúbuild ever greater capacity to secure its maritime border against those who seek to use the seas to advance terrorism and violent extremism.
‚Äú‚Ä¶against those who seek to traffic drugs, people, and arms, against those who seek to steal Bangladesh‚Äôs fish and other maritime assets.‚Äù
The US earlier announced that Bangladesh Navy would get a second cutter, the Rush, to complement the Somudro Joy.
A naval team is now in Hawaii undertaking a joint visual inspection of the cutter, the ambassador said.