Lagos — The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has said that a properly charted territorial water through hydrographic exercise will enhance the nation’s maritime operation.
Speaking at this year’s World Hydrographic Day held at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos Bala Usman called for a greater synergy among stakeholders with the view to assiduously work in unison towards making available a holistic Nigerian Maritime Space Chart in the least possible time noting that about 80% of the Nations Territorial Waters are yet to be surveyed whilst 90% are yet to be charted going by recent data.
She commended the command of the Nigerian Navy for taking the lead in producing the first navigational chart of the Nigerian waters noting that efficient management of the maritime environment calls for plausible knowledge and professionalism in order to evolve critical strategies that would secure and regulate activities in the sector for proper conservation and sustainable use and exploitation of the resources therein.
Hadiza who also noted that the selected theme of “Hydrographic Information to Drive Marine Knowledge” could not have been more appropriate for the event adding that without the basic information as provided by hydrography details, it would be difficult, near impossibility to acquire necessary knowledge for exploration and exploitation of the maritime environment as well as providing effective management tools for conservation and sustainable use of its resources.
Similarly, she called for collaborative efforts with the industry through information sharing on data especially and joint survey efforts projects so as to leverage the Local Chart Production Capacity already Developed by the Nigerian Navy’s Hydrographic Office (NNHO). She opined that through these efforts, more Maritime information would be made available to Government and Maritime Operators in an internationally accepted manner explaining that these would, in turn, stimulate effective governance of the Nations Territorial Waters and sustainable use of our Maritime Resources to the benefit of the Nation at large.
According to Hadiza, “it is worth mentioning that Hydrography as an endeavour specifically assisted the NPA Management in deepening our channels, expansion of Marine Services to Ijegun Egba channel which was critical for the successful navigation and anchoring of the famous EGINA FPSO”. It equally helped in the completion of remedial dredging of Escravos channel, frequent wreck removals along the channels and the success story of the NPA’s recently unveiled Simulation Center at Dockyard amongst others.
Similarly, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas said that hydrography is not limited to facilitating navigational safety alone, as it also provides basic information for expert management of the sea, oceans, and waterways including the marine geospatial knowledge for national development.
He said: “In this regard we must appreciate our collective efforts towards the development of hydrographic capacity in Nigeria, resulting in the production of the first indigenous
“In the area of hydrographic platform acquisition, the NN also recently inducted two survey launches locally constructed here at the Naval dockyard ltd into its hydrographic fleet while work on the construction of 60-meter ocean survey vessel has reached an advanced stage at the ocean shipyard in France.
“On completion, this vessel is expected to further boost the NN survey charting capacity from December 2019.
“The NN equally continues to boost her capacity by sustaining the training of her personnel in diverse fields’ hydrography and cartography at various international hydrographic institutions to deliver a total package to mariners in the next few years to further enhance their safety of navigation and improved maritime knowledge in Nigeria”.