Life Jacket Distribution Ceremony among the Offshore Fishers’ of Bagerhat District
On February 2, 2016 a life jacket giving ceremony was held at the Shrimp Research Station (SRS) of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute (BFRI), Bagerhat. Based on the tragic circumstances in September 2015 when a large tropical storm moved into the Bay of Bengal cost 18 lives of the off shore fisherman from a same village, Boga under Kochua Upazilla of Bagerhat District, Mr. Mahmud Rahman, a dolphin ecologist and volunteer of The Tropical Dolphin Research Foundation (TDRF) realized the impact of life jackets for saving their lives. In this effort, the International Maritime Rescue Federation was contacted, and a donation of 1000 jackets was made. The jackets were provided from the offices of International Maritime Rescue Federation in China and were shipped to Bangladesh on Bangladesh Navy vessels.
Out of 1000 life jackets, TDRF was responsible for the distribution of 400 Jackets from Bagerhat. To serve the purposes, SRS, BFRI act as a platform to offer a congenial environment to ensure the donation process with precise accuracy. Apart from providing storage facility to TDRF, SRS, BFRI also arranged a wonderful ceremony to distribute the jackets.
On the ceremony Mr. Md. Jahangir Alam (District Commissioner of Bagarhat) was present as Chief Guest. Mr. ATM Rezaul Hasan (Commander, Bangladesh Coast Guard, West Zone) was special guest and the ceremony was presided over by Dr. Khan Kamal Uddin Ahmed (Chief Scientific Officer, SRS, BFRI, Bagarhat) as Chairman.
Welcome address was given by Mr. Rakibul Islam (Scientific Officer, SRS, BFRI) and Mr. Mahmud Rahman (Field Research Manager, Tropical Dolphin Research Foundation). Mr. Md. Jahangir Alam and Mr. ATM Rezaul Hasan also gave their valuable speech. Mr. Akkas Ali (one of the local fishermen) also expressed his gratefulness for arranging such ceremony. In Chairman’s speech, Dr. Khan Kamal Uddin Ahmed thanked IMRF and TDRF for such a novel initiative and hope to get further support to ensure life security of the off shore fisherman. There were nearly 80 attendees, of which 45 were local fishermen, and near 35 others including the BFRI’s Officers and Staff, representatives from Coast Guard and the print and electronic media. Through this ceremony, initially 294 jackets were provided to 21 boats (14 jackets per boat) that were able to give proof of ownership of a boat used for offshore fishing and the rest will be given soon following the same process of fishers’ selection.