Recorded maritime history says that during 50,000 BC people of South Asian region went down to the pacific islands with wooden sailing ships. And the human civilization spread over the other parts of the world through such sea-expeditions.
With one of the largest river networks, one of the largest bays, largest delta, longest unbroken sea-beach, one of the oldest sea-ports, over 60,000 seafarers during the first half of 20th century, ancient wooden shipbuilding heritage and recent modern ocean-going shipbuilding impulse – Bangladesh is truly a maritime country. Besides, we are keeping world shipping green through the process of safe recycling of scrapped ships! ‘Made in Bangladesh’ wooden ships had been used in Turkey, China, Portugal and Germany during 13th-18th centuries. Therefore, Bangladesh possesses rich maritime heritage and current professional feat as well.
World scenario was changing fast after the WWII (1939-46). Pakistan along with East Bengal (Bangladesh) became independent in 1947 from British rule. Thereafter, the then Pakistan Government looked into developing various industrial training facilities. As such a scheme for establishing a marine academy beside Bay of Bengal had been sanctioned in 1952. Juldia Point (valleys of Juldia-Rangadia) at the Karnaphuly river-mouth at Bay of Bengal was chosen for the planned academy. Interesting to note that the reason was to create a ‘ship-like environment’ due to geographical location the Juldia Point was considered as it was almost like a ship but not floating! Such suitable facility/location was unique in the country and was not available from Suez to South-East Asian countries except India. (Project Plan – Development of Marine Academy, Phase – II [1973-1980])
Building basic infrastructure commenced. The establishment budget was Taka 31.19 lakhs in 1952, then increased to Taka 53 lakhs in 1959 and finally to Taka 58.3 lakhs in 1961. The initial project was completed with the aim of training 22 Nautical Cadet Officers and 22 Marine Engineering Cadet Officers. The new-built ‘Mercantile Marine Academy’ went into functioning from 3rd September 1962.
Afterwards, during our Great Liberation War 1971 the then Pakistan Government shifted this Academy to Karachi, Pakistan.