The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, has said that Hydrography would provide a conducive environment for maritime activities that would help to actualise Nigeria’s Blue Economy project.
Gambo said this at a virtual meeting during the 2021 World Hydrography Day celebration with the theme: ‘100 Years Of International Cooperation in Hydrography’.
He said that hydrography would equip the Navy with faster survey and chart the coverage of the nation’s waters toward facilitating a more robust maritime activity for security and economic growth of the nation.
“Through hydrography, Nigeria’s inland waters, which connect the Atlantic Ocean via over 25 river entrances can be opened for transportation of goods and services for export toward enhancing Nigeria’s economy.
“Additionally, effective hydrographic practice will ensure adequate chart coverage of about 84,000 square nautical miles of Nigeria’s territorial waters.
“This will ultimately provide up-to-date products to drive Nigeria’s Blue Economy Project including support for safe conduct of mariner’s activities,” he said.
Gambo said that in spite of the limitations imposed by COVID-19 pandemic, professionals and stakeholders alike were still able to interact to discuss pertinent issues like Hydrography.
He said that hydrographic applications have increasingly shifted from the safety of navigation for marine transport to other activities that are facilitating sustainable use of the ocean for economic growth.
“These include offshore wind farming, coastal zone management, blue economy, as well as offshore exploration and exploitation of mineral resources.
“These activities require a great deal of both national and international collaborations at various stages for maximum benefits to be derived from.
“That is why I consider this year’s World Hydrography Day, which, marked the 100 years of international cooperation in Hydrography as apt for Nigeria,” the CNS said.
He said that the dwindling economic fortunes of the world called for a rethink toward economic diversification in the country, using hydrography as a critical enabler.
Gambo said that this called for more purposeful international and national cooperations among all stakeholders in the field of hydrography.
“Through international cooperation in Hydrography with the UK, Nigeria has been able to sustain all forms of maritime activities that support over 96 percent of Nigeria’s seaborne trade.
“Further international cooperation with India and the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) have helped Nigeria, particularly the Navy to build human capacity in Hydrography.
“It has also helped to develop standards for hydrographic survey and charting,” he said
The CNS said that these international cooperations and the Nigerian Navy’s engagements with other hydrographic industry’s players in Nigeria enabled the country produce its indigenous navigational charts and nautical publications in 2019.
“This feat has placed Nigeria on the international map of chart producing nations.
“There are two paper charts and three calls of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs) indigenously produced by the Nigerian Navy, which are currently supporting safety of Navigation in Nigerian waters,” he said.
Gambo said that the recent addition of the state of the art 60-meter Hydrographic Survey Vessel, NNS LANA, to the Nigerian Navy’s inventory would improve hydrographic service delivery to mariners within Nigerian waters.
“Already, discussions are ongoing with the Nippon Foundation/GEBCO for Nigeria’s participation in the Seabed 2030 Project.
“This is aimed at facilitating Nigeria’s fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which deals with sustainable use of the oceans, sea and marine resources,” he said.
The CNS said that the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) are in partnership for the opening up of the nation’s inland waters for improved maritime business, through hydrographic survey and charting.