Turkey is repairing a Bangladesh Navy missile corvette that was damaged during the blasts on the 4 August at the port of Beirut.
BNS Bijoy was towed some 450 nautical miles to the Aksaz Naval Base in Turkey by the Turkish Coast Guard vessel TCG Inebolu on 30 August. Necessary repairs are being carried out on the Bangladesh Navy’s Castle class corvette at the Turkish naval base.
Repairs are to be completed by 7 September at the Turkish naval dockyard. Earlier the Bangladesh Navy sent a small team of naval engineers and a commander to investigate the damage. The team brought with it some critical spares required for the warship.
The repair bill is being paid for by the United Nations according to Defseca.com sources.
The Bangladesh Navy has not publicly disclosed the extent of the damage incurred by BNS Bijoy. The warship was serving under the auspices of the United Nation’s Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNFIL) maritime task force. It was tied down close to the blast site caused by a large number of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in the port.
The blast destroyed the entire city killing 160 people and injuring at least 6,000.
BNS Bijoy is a British-made missile corvette that was commissioned in to the Bangladesh Navy in 2011. It has a length of 81 metres, is armed with four C-704 anti-ship missiles, one H/PJ-26 76.2 mm main gun and two Oerlikon 20 mm autocannons. Besides it has a landing deck capable of accommodating 11-ton class helicopters.
BNS Bijoy was deployed as part of the UNFIL’s Maritime Task Force since December 2017.
BNS Sangram replaced her less than a week after the blast though the replacement was a scheduled takeover of responsibilities.
BNS Sangram is one of the most advanced warships of its kind in the Bangladesh Navy. It was commissioned on 18 June 2020. The guided missile corvette is armed with a H/PJ-26 76.2 mm main gun, two H/PJ-17 30 mm RWS, four C-802A anti-ship missiles, an eight-cell FL-3000N SAM system and two six-tube Type 87 ASW rocket launchers. She is also equipped with a helicopter deck capable of carrying medium sized helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
BNS Sangram was built at Wuchang Shipyard and delivered on 28 March 2019 to the Bangladesh Navy.
Bangladesh-Turkey strategic relations
Bangladesh signed an agreement with Turkey on military training, education and joint cooperation between forces of both nations on 10 March 1981 at Dhaka. As per agreement Turkey’s Naval special forces trained Bangladesh Navy’s special forces Special Warfare Diving and Salvage.
Turkey has also been training Bangladesh Navy submariners even before the Bangladesh Navy officially purchased its first submarines from China.
Later this year Turkey will hold its first ever defence exhibition in Bangladesh, which may lead to announcements of several military deals that are in the pipeline. Turkey is becoming a significant source of military hardware for Bangladesh. It has proven to be a good source of Western standard military hardware at reasonable prices according to Bangladeshi defence officials.