~Shipbuilding Industry Taking Off in Bangladesh Professor Chun Ho-hwan, fourth from right, and his delegates listen to an official of Ananda Shipyard Ltd., one of Bangladesh’s leading shipbuilding companies. / Courtesy of Prof. Chun Ho-hwan By Chun Ho-hwan Bangladeshi Ambassador to Shahidul Islam visited me at the Advanced Ship Engineering Research Center (ASERC) at Pusan National University (PNU) to find a way of establishing a long-term and mutually beneficial collaboration in the shipbuilding sector between Korea and Bangladesh. At his request, I paid a short visit to Bangladesh on Oct. 12 and 13 last year. In order to understand the shipbuilding related academic and industrial environment, I visited two leading shipyards namely Western Marine Services (WMS), and Ananda Shipyard and Slipways (ASSL), as well as the Department of Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering (NAME) at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and the Marine Academy. Shipbuilding History of Bangladesh I was surprised by the fact that Bangladesh has a strong background in building ships since ancient times. I realized that it is quite natural in that Bangladesh has more than 200 rivers with a total length of about 22,155km plus a long coast line on the Bay of Bengal. It is little known today that Bangladesh was the center of building ocean-going vessels in Asia between the 15th and 17th century. In the early 19th century, the shipyards of Chittagong built many commercial ships of up to 1,000 tons and also British navy vessels that participated in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Due to this historic prosperous background and also a natural geographical advantage, there are presently more than 200 shipbuilding and ship-repair yards in Bangladesh. Among them, I visited two, 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) and their size (up to about 10,000 tons) were better than I had expected. Education It was good to note that in NAME, there are a large number of well qualified professors who studied overseas. The students are active, and can speak English very well, which is a very important factor in the 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 exchanges and cooperation between the two institutions was made in order to encourage faculty and student exchanges and joint research activities. As a result of the agreement, five students from NAME were awarded scholarships to study at the post-graduate level in the Department of NAOE, PNU for the spring semester of 2010.