The Nigerian Navy said it is set to join the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s World Hydrography Day on 21st June.
Accordingly, the navy said it is working with other stakeholders including the Nigerian Hydrographic Society, Nigerian Ports Authority, National Inland Waterways Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the academia and private practitioners to showcase the various hydrographic developments that are providing information for proper ocean governance in Nigeria.
The Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Adm. Chukwuemeka Okafor stated this at a media briefing held at the Western Naval Command in Apapa, on Tuesday to flag-off the 2022 World Hydrography Day celebration in Nigeria.
While reeling out the achievements of Nigeria in hydrography over the years, Rear Admiral Okafor said the ongoing survey and charting of Rivers Niger and Benue has reached 50 percent completion.
“Nigeria has made modest achievements in hydrography over the years. For instance, since independence, the hydrographic services provided by the Nigerian Ports Authority have kept our ports and harbours open thereby ensuring that goods and services that sustain lives are safely moved in and out of the ports.
“On the other hand, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, through its hydrographic unit engages in activity that identifies and removes critical wrecks and water hyacinths within our waters to avoid marine accidents.
“In 2019, the efforts of the Nigerian Navy added Nigeria to the league of chart producing nations of the world, when the first indigenous navigational chart covering part of Nigerian waters was unveiled. This chart has since replaced the foreign chart used for navigation in that part of our water. Since then, the Navy has produced 9 additional paper charts,5 cells of Electronic Navigational Charts (ENCs), 12 series of training charts covering the entire territorial waters of Nigeria and several nautical publications. These hydrographic service deliveries have ensured that Nigeria’s sea lanes of communication are kept open, for maritime trade and other activities to thrive.
“Earlier this year, the newly inducted 60-meters offshore survey vessel, NNS LANA, commenced first ever systematic survey of Nigeria’s coastal and offshore waters, which will further improve the knowledge of our ocean for better management and sustainable use. Recently, the tripartite collaboration between the Nigerian Navy, National Inland Waterways Authority and NEXIM Bank led to the ongoing historic survey and charting of Rivers Niger and Benue, which is about 50% completed,” he said.
The survey and charting project of Rivers Niger and Benue, when completed, he said will re-open a very critical inland water navigational route in Nigeria, which has remained moribund for over six decades.
He added that it will further provide the government with vital information that will provoke appropriate governance measures to ensure sustainable use of this part of Nigeria’s maritime space.
Rear Admiral Okafor said the Nigerian Navy is also collaborating with the University of Lagos, in research and capacity building, to ensure that adequate skilled hydrographic manpower is available to provide the needed hydrographic services to the nation.
“On the International scene, arrangement has reached advanced stage for the Nigerian Navy to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030, which seeks to complete the mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030.This effort would help to integrate information regarding Nigeria’s waters with that of other countries towards achieving effective global ocean governance that will ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. All these and many more uses of hydrographic information would be brought to the fore during the World Hydrographic Day celebration in Nigeria,” he said.
Highlighting activities lined up for the event, the Hydrographer of the navy said they include awareness lectures on hydrography to selected secondary schools in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kano aimed at arousing the interests of young minds to consider picking up career in hydrography with a view to have enough human capacity to provide quality hydrographic service delivery to Nigeria’s policy makers and mariners alike.
He added, “On 21 June 2022, there will be a plenary session, where professionals and government officials would interact in a one-day seminar to deliberate on how best to use the science of hydrography to improve the health of Nigeria’s ocean for sustainable development. Three papers will be presented by subject matter experts in line with the theme of the day.
“The event would also witness the unveiling of 2 nautical publications and a hydrographic magazine published by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office and NNS LANA respectively, to further provide knowledge of our waters to the public. Stakeholders in hydrography, would also display their wares and interact with users for more patronage and improved service delivery during the WHD celebration.”
The theme for the 2022 edition of the World Hydrography Day, Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade is aimed at exploring hydrography, as a branch of applied sciences to find solution to failing health of the world’s ocean.
It will also afford hydrographers all over the world, including those in Nigeria the opportunity to showcase their activities, in support of the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.