Bangladesh flags fluttered high as its navy yesterday formally contributed two more battleships to the peacekeeping of Lebanon.
Bangladesh Navy Ship Ali Haider (FFG) and corvette BNS Nirmul replaced two other ships that Bangladesh Navy had contributed to the maritime task force (MTF) of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
BNS Osman and BNS Madhumati have been stationed in Lebanon since 2010 continuously in the world's only maritime peacekeeping by the UN. They will sail back on June 15.
Commander of UNIFIL MTF, Rear Admiral Walter Eduardo Bombarda, who graced the occasion as chief guest, highly praised Bangladesh Navy's role in Lebanon and said this is why UNIFIL is inviting ships from Bangladesh.
Till 2004 participation in UN peacekeeping was mainly limited to Bangladesh army, air force and police.
But in 2005 opportunity opened up for navy to contribute a Force Riverine Unit in Sudan. After that navy joined the UNIFIL operation.
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (operations) Rear Admiral AMMM Aurangjeb Chowdhury while presiding over the command handover ceremony said with the augmentation Bangladesh Navy has achieved reasonable capacity to contribute further to the UN maritime task force in future.
“I feel proud to mention that the crew of our ships maintained a very high standard of discipline. There was not a single incident of breach of UN standard conduct by any crew member at any time,” he said.
The chief of MTF said Bangladesh Navy has shown perpetual high standards of discipline, sincerity and hard work in preventing illegal entry of arms.
The two ships continuously have a crew of 640. In the last four years, 1,280 crew members served in the UNIFIL MTF.