$The Ambassador of Bangladesh in Korea, Mr. Shahidul Islam, visited ASERC (Advanced Ship Engineering Research Centre) in Pusan National University (PNU) and requested me to find a way of establishing a long-term and mutually beneficial collaboration in shipbuilding sector between Korea and Bangladesh. At his request, I paid a short visit to Bangladesh from October 12-13, 2009. In order to understand the shipbuilding related academic and industrial environment, I visited two leading shipyards namely Western Marine Services Ltd. (WMS) and Ananda Shipyard and Slipways Limited (ASSL) and Department of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering (NAME) in Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and the Marine Academy 2. Shipbuilding history of Bangladesh
I was so surprised by the fact that Bangladesh has a strong background of building ships since ancient times. I realized that this is quite natural in that Bangladesh has more than 200 rivers with a total length of about 22,155km plus a long coast line with the Bay of Bengal. It is today little known that Bangladesh was the centre of building ocean-going vessels in Asia between 15th and 17th century. In the early 19th century, the shipyards of Chittagong built many commercial ships up to 1,000 tons and also British navy vessels which participated in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Due to this historic prosperous background and also a natural geo-graphical advantage, there are presently more than 200 shipbuilding and repairing yards in Bangladesh. Among them, I visited two ship yards, ASSL and WMS, which are the most modern and largest shipyards in Bangladesh. My first impression was that both of them are well organized in terms of production and assembly flow lines, and that the facilities (welding, steel cutting and design office software etc) and their size (up to about 10,000 ton) were better than I had expected. 3. Education: BUET
It was a good thing to note that in the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME) of BUET, there are a large number of well qualified professors who studied overseas. Also, students are intelligent and active, and can speak English so well, which is a very important factor in shipbuilding industry. However, there were no valuable experimental facilities which can be effectively used in qualitative education and good research. The most important objective of my visit was to establish an academic collaboration between BUET and PNU in the field of naval architecture. An agreement of Academic Exchange and Cooperation between the two institutions was made in order to encourage faculty/student exchanges and joint research activities.As a result of the agreement, five students from NAME in BUET were awarded scholarship to study at post-graduate level in the Department of NAOE, PNU for the spring semester of 2010. 4. Potentials and Challenges of Bangladesh Ship Building Industries Bangladesh and Korea have similar historical background in terms of the prosperous culture and technology in the past followed by colonization by foreign powers in the recent history. The natural and human resources had dried up when Korea was liberated in 1945 after the Japanese colonial period of 35 years. After few years of chaotic period, the tragic Korean War took place in 1950 and when the war ended in 1953, Korea was in ruins. Korea started to rebuild its strength from virtually “nothing.” Korea celebrated a total export of US$100 million in 1964 when Ethiopia in Africa and Bolivia in South America also registered the same amount of export. In 2008, Korea achieved a total export of US$426.7 billion, whereas the total export of Ethiopia remained at US$1.6 billion and Bolivia’s at US$ 5.7 billion.It is worth mentioning that in 2008, the Korean export in the shipbuilding sector alone was US$ 43.1 billion (almost 3 times the total export of Bangladesh). It is no wonder that whenever I travel and give lectures in...
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