Nigeria plans to commence nautical charting of her waterways

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Matthew Otoijagha

Plans are underway for the nation to commence in-house nautical charting of her waterways.

Already, hydrographers are receiving needed trainings and data are being compiled for that purpose, said the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas on Monday.

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 stategy 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.

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