By PHILIP NWOSU
The Nigerian Navy has launched maritime Safety Information portal to help give adequate information to vessels plying Nigerian waterways on the appropriate channel to following during navigation
The portal it was gathered will disseminate information on navigational root and provide navigational warnings of uncharted dangers to navigation and meteorological forecast to mariners navigation within the country’s water ways.
Launching the Maritime Safety Information portal, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas said that through this portal the Hydrographer of the Navy, as the Charting Authority for the country would be able to effectively reach out to mariners by providing them with information that would aid their safe navigation through waters.
He said that mariners would be able to easily reach out to the Hydrographer to report any uncharted features observed during their voyage within Nigerian waters, which may constitute dangers to navigation so that such information can be shared with other mariners through the portal
The naval chief who was represented at the occasion by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah said the importance of the portal of the Maritime Safety Information cannot be over emphasized especially as it concerns safety and security within Nigeria’s maritime domain.
He said that robust maritime activities cannot thrive without security and safety, adding that safety and security within the maritime environment in Nigeria depend largely on the availability of accurate and timely hydrographic data and information.
Admiral Ibas said that this data can be in form of nautical charts, be it paper and electronic navigational charts, nautical publications as well as essential navigational warning about uncharted dangers and other related issues which need to be disseminated quickly to facilitate safe conduct of maritime activities.
He explained that as a member of the international hydrographic organization and other international maritime bodies, it is Nigeria’s obligation to provide mariners with these hydrographic data in order to promote safety and security within the country’s waters
He said that the accomplishment of effective Maritime safety and security of any nation transcends and individual organization but is borne out of the ability of the entire maritime industry to evolve relatively sustainable safety and security structure to stimulate a robust maritime domain awareness.
He called on stakeholders to cooperate and utilize this facility for the promotion of safety and security in Nigeria’s maritime environment.
He listed the benefit of the portal, explaining that it will ensure timely collation, processing and dissemination of real time navigational warning and other safety information to mariners operating within Nigeria.
The naval chief said the portal will also ensure that maritime stakeholders download and upload relevant safety and security information for timely dissemination to ships operating with NAVAREA II and METAREA II regions
He pointed out that with Nigeria’s water ways safe and secure, robust maritime activities will thrive which will boost the country’s economy and ultimately improve the general well-being of all Nigerians.
Earlier the Hydrographer of Nigeria Navy Commodore Chukwuemeka Okafor said that there are three type of navigational warnings that can be promulgated through this facility, including coastal, local and navigational area warnings.
He said that in accordance with international best practice, local warnings, covering ports/habours and channels are to be generated by the port authority and collated by the charting authority for updating and correction of national and international charts covering our waters.
While explaining coastal warnings, covering three nautical miles from the coast are to be collated and issued by the national charting authority, he added that the navigational area warning are to be collated by the national charting authority and issued by the regional navigational area coordinators.
He revealed that the entire world is divided into 21 Navigational areas with Nigeria under Navigational Area II which is coordinated by the French Hydrographic Office in Breast, France.
He explained that with the establishment of the this facility, the Nigerian Navy being the Charting Authority for Nigeria is set to connect mariners within Nigeria waters and other stakeholders with the international maritime community in line with global best practice.