Bangladesh Reacts to Myanmar Oil Exploration in Disputed Waters of Bay of Bengal

by OldSailor on November 4, 2008

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South Asia has started witnessing the fight to explore oil and natural gas reserves from the seabed.

Here are some disturbing developments taking place in Bay of Bengal.

  • Recently Myanmar commenced oil exploration in the deep sea block 08-13 considered as disputed waters in Bay of Bengal.The area is claimed by both Bangladesh and Myanmar.bangladesh_myanmar_dispute
  • The location is some 60 nautical miles off Saint Martin’s Island.
  • For oil exploration, Myanmar had engaged a South Korean company with some 50 people on four vessels along with exploration equipment. Two Myanmar navy ships were supporting the operation.
  • Three Bangladesh Navy ships reached the disputed area on November 01, to challenge the oil exploration. On sighting the Bangladesh naval ships, Myanmar naval ships returned back. Bangladesh naval ships also returned back from the disputed area on November 02.
  • Bangladesh foreign ministry immediately summoned Myanmar Ambassador on November 02 to register their strong protest against the reported intrusion of Myanmar vessels.
  • Further Bangladesh urged Myanmar to remove its vessels and oil exploration equipment from the site until the sea border dispute is settled.
  • Bangladesh has also called the South Korean ambassador and asked him to withdraw the company working for Myanmar in the disputed area.
  • Bangladesh is also planning to identify the nationalities of the workers in the disputed area and urge the governments of those workers to call them back from the disputed territory.

fightBangladesh firmly believes that the dispute can be resolved through dialogue as Bangladesh has very good relations with Myanmar. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Touhid Hossain has left for Myanmar on November 04 for talks with Myanmar officials.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has further deployed a British built frigate, BNS Kopothakka in the area to step up patrols, as Myanmar Navy had not yet shifted its vessels engaged in exploration activities. Other vessels of Bangladesh Navy are in stand-by for further instructions.

Here are interesting video clips of Bangladesh Navy, Clip1 and Clip2.

Read more from BDNews24 and Irrawaddy.

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Update: November 05

Myanmar refuses to leave the disputed area and intends to proceed with oil exploration. Further Myanmar has summoned Bangladesh Ambassador, to convey Myanmar government’s protest and also warned Bangladesh against intrusion of their naval vessels into their territory. Read more from Mizzima.

Meanwhile Bangladesh Navy continues to patrol in the disputed area as diplomatic solution is yet to be reached. Read more from BDNews24.

Update: November 06

As Bangladesh has sent a diplomatic mission to Myanmar and also put pressure through China, the South Korean company Daewoo engaged by Myanmar for oil exploration in disputed area has suspended the operation and has withdrawn the ships from the area. Bangladesh has also withdrawn their navy ships from the area. Read more from Thaindian News.

Update: November 16

Bangladesh and Myanmar have resumed maritime border talks on November 16 at Dhaka. Last maritime border talks were held in April this year. Read more from BD News 24.

Update: November 17

No break through in Bangladesh and Myanmar maritime boundary talks and both the countries have decided to continue maritime border talks in future. Read more from China View.

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