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Bangladesh Navy diverts Rohingya aid ship to Cox's Bazar

(Photo: AP)

By Patrick Lee and Shahrul Nasrin Rezal
February 13, 2017

BAY OF BENGAL: The Rohingya aid ship Nautical Aliya has entered Bangladeshi waters and is now heading to Cox's Bazar, the ship's crew said.

"At about 2am local time, the Bangladesh Navy called us and informed us to go to Cox's Bazar," the ship's second officer Justin Savari Nathan told The Star when met on the bridge. 

He added that the Bangladesh Navy told him that the ship will be provided with barges to offload the ship's aid cargo. 

Nathan added that the ship was given an anchor point about two nautical miles off the Cox's Bazar coast, which he expected to reach by about 10am local time. The Nautical Aliya was previously sailing towards Chittagong, Bangladesh with about 2,100 tonnes of aid meant for Rohingya refugees in the country. Cox's Bazar is about 140km from Chittagong.

At the moment, the ship is being escorted by two Bangladesh Navy vessels. 

On Feb 3, Bangladesh declined to let the Malaysian aid ship enter its waters but overturned this by allowing them to come in just hours later. 

A few days later they declined the ship's docking at Teknaf - at the country's south-eastern point- and where some Rohingya refugee camps are said to be. 

Bangladesh then offered three alternatives to Teknaf including Chittagong, which aid mission organisers accepted.

However, the aid mission's volunteers are not allowed to get off the ship or to visit the Rohingya camps. 

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