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Nigerian Navy discloses plans to produce nautical charts of maritime domain

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas  on Monday disclosed that plans were underway
for the nation to commence in-house nautical charting of her waterways.

He also said that hydrographers were already receiving needed
training and data were being compiled for that purpose. 
 

Ibas spoke at the opening of a five-day biennial
conference and exhibition themed “Regional awareness on maritime geospatial
knowledge,” organised by the International Hydrographic Organisation
(IHO)  and the Eastern Atlantic Hydrographic Commission (EIHC) held in
Lagos.

According to him, the country had already completed
the development of national charting scheme and built the right capacity for
acquisition of hydrographic data both within the inshore and offshore waters of
Nigeria.

Appreciating the IHO for providing guidelines and
standards for worldwide practice of hydrography, Ibas said its efforts have
helped the nation take the rights steps.

“I am proud to state here that through your
guidance, Nigeria was able to establish Maritime Safety Information facilities,
which of course led to the accomplishment of phase one of the IHO’s Capacity
Building Strategy.

“Through the platform provided by the IHO, Nigeria
has built the right capacity for acquisition of hydrographic data both within
the inshore and offshore waters, in fulfillment of phase two of capacity
building strategy of the IHO.

“On the third phase of the capacity building
strategy, which deals with the ability to produce nautical charts, Nigeria has
developed limited capacity. At the moment, Nigeria has completed the
development of National Charting Scheme and has commenced requisite training
and compilation of data for production of nautical charts.

“Currently, Nigeria produces training charts, at the
Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office which are used in many maritime institutions
across the country for training purposes.

“I can only ask that you do more by way of providing
billets in Cartography and accreditation of our Hydrographic School in Port
Harcourt so as to consolidate on the gains achieved so far, and subsequently
give mariners better hydrographic service delivery within this sub-region.

“History has it that some years ago, Nigeria could
not predict its tides neither could it produce the accompanying Tidal
Prediction Tables for its ports and training charts for its Maritime
Institutions; but with the steady progress made in hydrographic development,
these products are now being produced in Nigeria.

“The 2019 Tidal Prediction Tables are currently on
display at the exhibition stand of the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office,” he
said.

The CNS expressed hope that the conference would
provide an opportunity to renew contacts  discuss problems and prospects
of mutual interest as well as cover a wide range of important issues relating
to the collection, processing and dissemination of Maritime Safety Information
(MSI), Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) and data management among
others.

Also at the event were the Director-General Nigerian
Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dakuku Peterside, Managing
Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora,
representatives from Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research,
the academia, IHO, International Maritime Organization (IMO), International
Association of Lighthouse Authority, United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, French
National Hydrographic Office (SHOM), International Oceanographic Commission and
the Chairman Eastern Atlantic Hydrographic Commission among others.

In his welcome remark, the Hydrographer of Nigeria
Commodore Chukwuemeka Okafor said 22 countries were represented at the
conference, highlighting the importance of hydrography.

He said: “The primary purpose of hydrography is to
protect human lives at sea by facilitating safe navigation but far beyond this
hydrography contributes directly to the efficiency of maritime transport by
allowing voyages to be shortened. “Hydrography provides primary data essential
for coastal zone management and development of ports and other coastal
infrastructures.

“Hydrographic data are critical requirements for the
selection of routes for submarine pipelines and cables, selection of sites for
wind-farms and offshore oil and gas platforms, as well as, underwater
constructions and developments.

“In today’s unending maritime boundary disputes,
hydrography supports the delimitation of maritime boundaries and Blue Economy.
It underpins the forecasting of the likely spread and track of oil slicks, as
part of oil spill response.”

Peterside said the event would accelerate collective
reflection on matters relating to maritime safety and the need for hydrographic
data.

Mamora said that inland waterways were safer than
they used to be, adding that efforts were being made for more improvement.

“NIWA clearly understands the importance of
geospatial knowledge in maritime operations. From geolocating the obstacles-
natural or manmade to search and rescue, barge limits to horsepower
requirements, other navigational safety issues to safety of the environment or
threats to Inland Waterways, The Nigerian Navy and NIWA  have largely
co-operated and shared information in these and other areas.”
 The Nation.

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