Better extraction of marine resources: Bill placed in parliament
Territorial Waters and Maritime Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was placed in parliament today to make the existing law a more time-befitting one.
While placing the proposed law in parliament, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said it will establish Bangladesh's sovereignty over its maritime boundary which will facilitate search and extraction of marine resources.
The Bill was later sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the respective ministry for further scrutiny.
The committee was asked to submit its report before the House within 45 days.
The bill proposed maximum three years imprisonment or a monetary fine of minimum Tk 2 crore and maximum Tk 5 crore for maritime pollution.
The punishment was one-year imprisonment and Tk 5,000 fine in the old law enacted in 1974.
The new draft also includes provision for punishment for offence in Exclusive Economic Zone, Continental Shelf and Contiguous Zone.
Provision of video, photo, electronics records was included as evidence in proving offences and incidents in the sea as witness of most of the offences were not found.
Thirty-five new sections have been incorporated in the proposed law including the provision of criminal jurisdiction and civil jurisdiction in entry of foreign vessels and submarines into Bangladesh maritime boundary.
It defines Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, and Unmanned Underwater Vehicle.
Besides, Economic Zone has been replaced by Exclusive Economic Zone in line with the definition of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to established absolute sovereignty over the marine boundary and its assets.
Under UNCLOS-1982, all coastal countries are granted sovereign right to stretch of sea extending 200 nautical miles beyond their coast, which is known as Exclusive Economic Zone.
The bill extended the boundary of Contiguous Zone, which is a band of water extending further from the outer edge of the territorial sea to up to 24 nautical miles from the baseline, to 24 miles from 18 miles.