Nigeria on Friday unveiled a locally produced nautical chart, the first of its kind since 1976.
Unveiling the chart in Lagos to celebrate the 2019 World Hydrography Day, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas said it would ensure effective and efficient hydrographic services to facilitate safe and efficient use of the seas, oceans and waterways.
The CNS also said the navy would later this year take delivery of a hydrographic vessel currently being built at the Ocea shipyard in France.
He added there was ongoing capacity development for the production of military operations charts to specifically meet maritime operational and intelligence needs, especially in the aid of riverine operations within the nation’s backwaters.
“At last year’s World Hydrography Day event, we applauded Nigeria’s attainment of phases 1 and 2 of the international Hydrographic Organisation’s development strategy regarding the ability to disseminate Maritime Safety Information (MSI) and acquisition of hydrographic data within our waters.
He said: “One year down the line, I am glad to note that Nigeria has achieved the third and last phase in her hydrographic development, which is the ability to produce fully authenticated navigational charts.
“This is coming at a time when the world is focusing on the blue economy for a more sustainable use of ocean ecosystem health. By achieving this feat, Nigeria is better placed for enhanced sustainable use of its ocean resources.”
Admiral Ibas described this year’s theme “Hydrographic Information Drive Marine Knowledge” as most appropriate, owing to the indispensability of hydrographic data to successful maritime activities.
“Hydrography is not limited to facilitating navigational safety alone, as it also provides basic information for expert management of the seas, oceans and waterways, including Marine Geospatial Knowledge for national development.
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“We all must appreciate our collective efforts towards the development of hydrographic capacity in Nigeria, resulting in the production of the first indigenous navigational chart. I therefore implore you all not to rest on your oars, as we commence the diligent charting of Nigeria’s entire maritime space.
“In the area of hydrographic platforms acquisition, the NN also recently inducted two survey launches locally constructed here at the Naval Dockyard Limited into its hydrographic fleet while work on the construction of a 60 meter Ocean Survey Vessel, has reached advanced stage at Ocean shipyard in France.
“On completion, this vessel is expected to further boost NN survey and charting capacity from December 2019. The NN equally continues to boost her capacity by sustaining the training of her personnel in diverse fields of hydrography and cartography at various international Hydrographic Organisation accredited institutions around the world.
“These efforts are intended to deliver a total hydrographic package to mariners in the next few years to further enhance safety of navigation and improved maritime knowledge in Nigeria.”
Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman pledged enhanced collaboration with the navy, adding that charting would be extended to eastern and central ports.
She said efficient management of the maritime environment requires thorough knowledge of the entire space to evolve workable strategies that would secure, as well as regulate activities for proper conservation and sustainable use of the resources contained therein.
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