For effective surveillance of the nation’s maritime domain, the Nigerian Navy says it is constructing an offshore vessel for its hydrographic department to survey and chart the inland waters.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ibas, on Thursday made the disclosure at the 2018 World Hydrograph Day Celebration held at the Naval Dockyard Ltd., Victoria Island, Lagos.
Ibas, represented by Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Sylvanus Abbah, said that the navy had completed the construction of two survey launches locally at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard Ltd.
Ibas said: “The navy has also awarded contract to a French Ship Yard for the construction of an offshore survey vessel.
“The navy is still training a number of its personnel in various field of hydrograph at various International Hydrographic Office accredited institutions around the world.’’
Ibas also said that there were efforts to accredit the Nigerian Navy Hydrograph School so as to meet local capacity building needs of stakeholders in the country.
He added that the navy was in talks with some tertiary institutions and relevant stakeholders in the country for commencement of relevant hydrographic courses.
He said: “These efforts are intended to deliver total hydrographic package to mariners in the next few years in order to facilitate safety in navigation and improved marine activities in Nigeria.
“It was in the light of this that the theme: Bathymetry- The Foundation for Sustainable Seas, Oceans and Waterways’’ was considered apt.
“This is due to indispensability of bathymetric data to successful maritime activities.
“There is today, quite a growing concern for the future of the marine environment, especially as it relates to its protection and safeguarding of its biodiversity purpose of exploiting its rich natural resources for the benefit of mankind.
“These concerns can only be assuaged with the availability of accurate and up to date bathymetric data.”
Ibas said that the navy had taken giant steps in providing improved service delivery to mariners operating on the Nigerian waters in the last one year.
He said: “These steps include the fulfillment of Phase 1 of the IHO Capacity Building Strategy, which has to do with the ability to disseminate Maritime Safety information to mariners.
“Also, the navy recently revamped its Cartographic Unit for charts production, which has so far led to the training of one cartographer, with the second about to commence training in the US in July.
“Work on the production of National charts series for Nigeria has commenced and shortly, mariners would be able to access nautical charts covering parts of the Nigerian waters from the Nigerian Navy Hydrograph Office.”
The navy Hydrographer, Commodore Emeka Okafor, while speaking with journalists, said that the survey office needed empowerment to carry out more surveys.
Okafor said: “More surveys bring more activities and economy which will impact on everybody in the country.
“The survey equipment are not cheap, so by the time you buy one, you will need the next and without the next, you will not be able to maximise the use of the one you bought.
“So, the major challenge is financing and the navy is really trying.
“Many people have been trained and one after the other, the navy is addressing these issues.”