CNS Gambo confident effective hydrography can aid policy formulation to reverse decline in ocean health
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, on Tuesday expressed confidence that knowledge of, and data from hydrographic surveys could aid better policy formulation by federal policy makers, which in turn would support improvement in the nation’s ocean health.
Admiral Gambo made this known while giving his keynote address at the World Hydrography Day event, which took place at the Admiralty Conference Centre of the Naval Dockyard Ltd., Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking on the importance of hydrography to national economic development, Gambo said: “…Knowledge of the physical properties of the environment would be used, not only for nautical charts production, but also to aid Federal Government towards policy formulation that would reverse the cycle of decline in Nigeria’s ocean health.
“Furthermore, these hydrographic data would assist relevant agencies to delineate critical marine protected and potential deep sea mining areas. These would further position Nigeria on the right part towards improved national economic growth, development and security.”
The CNS was proud of the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Unit for remarkable efforts by producing navigational charts and other nautical publications with depth of knowledge to build capacity.
He said: “Nigeria joined the league of chart producing nations, when the first indigenous navigational chart was unveiled by the Nigerian Navy at the last World Hydrography Day.
“It is gladdening to note that barely 2 years down the line, 9 more navigational paper charts and 5 cells of Electronic Navigational Charts have been produced.
“Today, the Navy has achieved yet another milestone in developing hydrographic capacity, as its Hydrographic Office has commenced production of nautical publications.
“Accordingly, 2 publications, namely “Symbols and Abbreviations used on Nigeria’s Paper Charts” and “Rules of the Road” will be unveiled later during this event.
“Additionally, NNS LANA will unveil its maiden magazine; “the Gondola”, which chronicled activities from construction till date. These huge hydrographic capacity development efforts are coming at a time the world is focused on use of ocean sciences to achieve sustainable development.
“Consequently, I consider the theme for 2022 World Hydrographic Day; which is “Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade” quite apt. This is due to the indispensability of hydrographic data in ocean scientific researches. Accordingly, we must appreciate our collective efforts towards the development of hydrography in Nigeria.”
He added: “It is worthy of note that the Nigerian Navy recently commenced the first indigenous systematic survey of Nigeria’s coastal and offshore waters. This marked the beginning of systematic study of Nigeria’s waters and the campaign would be sustained until our entire offshore waters are completely surveyed.
In the same vein, the Hydrographer of the nation, Rear Admiral Emeka Okafor, expressed optimism that the day’s event would create awareness on the gains of effective hydrography, including helping to reduce plastic wastes, petroleum wastes and other toxins harmful to both the marine environment and humans alike.
Okafor explained that “My optimism is predicated on the fact that, Nigeria has never witnessed the kind of hydrographic developmental strides and capacities it currently has.
“For instance, Nigeria is today among the chart producing nations of the world, capable of producing not just nautical charts, but also specialized hydrographic products, like Environmental Sensitivity Index charts, beach gradient maps and several nautical publications, to guide policy makers, maritime security agencies and mariners alike, while engaging in any form of maritime activities. Nigeria is also able to generate and disseminate maritime safety information to all users.”
Special guest of honour at the event was the Minister of State for Transport, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, accompanied by other dignitaries including the heads of parastatals under the Ministry.