Nigerian Navy hosted 22 other countries in Lagos on Monday for the 15th Eastern Atlantic Hydrographic Conference on better service delivery to mariners.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that he Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ibas, flagged off the five-day conference themed, “Regional Awareness on Maritime Geospatial Knowledge”.
In his remark, Ibas said that Nigeria had completed the development of National Charting Scheme and commenced requisite training and compilation of data for production of nautical charts.
“Currently, Nigeria produces training charts at the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office which are used in many maritime institutions across the country for training purposes.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this five-day event would improve the already existing cooperation among stakeholders in Nigeria.
“It would also afford Nigeria’s hydrographic community the opportunity of improving their knowledge in hydrographic practices, through the experiences of the professionals, who have come from all over the world for this occasion,” he said.
Ibas said that the maritime environment had been of immense importance both as a precursor for global trade as well as a source of livelihood and wealth creation.
“Apart from being a medium for transporting goods and services, the maritime domain also generates income from other sources and even moderates the climate.
“Today, there is a growing concern for the future of the marine environment, particularly as it relates to its safety, security, cleanliness and the protection of its biodiversity for the purpose of exploration and exploitation of resources for the benefit of mankind.
“These concerns can only be assuaged with the provision of effective and efficient hydrographic services in form of nautical charts and Maritime Safety Information (MSI) among others, to facilitate safe and efficient use of the seas, oceans and waterways by operators,” he said.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Hydrographer of the Navy, Cdre Chukwu-Emeka Okafor, said that the primary purpose of hydrography was to protect human lives at sea by facilitating safe navigation.
“Also, far beyond this, hydrography contributes directly to the efficiency of maritime transport by allowing voyages to be shortened.
“Hydrography supports the delimitation of maritime boundaries and blue economy. It underlines the forecasting of the likely spread and track of oil slicks as part of oil spill response plan.
“With all these benefits and more, it is safe to say that hydrography is a force multiplier to the economic prosperity of a littoral nation and the quality of life of its citizens,” he said.
He advised nations within the sub-region to take advantage of the technological advancement in hydrography and the technical assistance offered by the International Hydrographic Organisation to fully develop their hydrographic services.
NAN reports that among the countries at the conference were Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Morocco.
Others were Portugal, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sweden, Togo and the United Kingdom.