The Nigerian Navy is set to unveil seven additional navigational charts as part of activities to mark the 2023 World Hydrography Day.
The Chief of Policy and Plans (Navy), Rear Adm. Seidu Garba, disclosed this on Wednesday at a news conference on the occasion of the 2023 World Hydrography Day celebration in Abuja.
TheFact Daily learnt that a navigational or hydrographic chart is a graphic representation of a sea region or water body and adjacent coasts or banks, and depending on the scale of the chart, it may show depths of water and heights of land, natural features of the seabed, details of the coastline, navigational hazards, locations of natural and human-made aids to navigation.
It may also show information on tides and currents, local details of the Earth’s magnetic field, and human-made structures such as harbours, buildings, and bridges.
Garba said the newly produced navigational charts by the Nigerian Navy linking Ondo to Lagos State through River Alape, would be unveiled on June 21, adding that the new charts in addition to the earlier 20 produced for the lower-Niger River would bring the number to 27.
According to him, the Nigerian navy has the most sophisticated hydrographic survey vessel in the whole of Africa.
He said that the vessel, NNS LANA, which came into the country in 2021, is being used extensively to do chart the nation’s coastal areas and inland waterways.
Garba said the theme of the day which is “Hydrography – Underpinning the Digital Twin of the Ocean”, would focus on the application of hydrographic datasets for sustainable management and use of the ocean.
According to him, digital twin of the ocean is a near real-time future digital representation of the physical, chemical, biological, and socio-economical dimensions of the ocean, to facilitate well-informed decisions for effective ocean governance.
He said the ocean was everything to man, adding that it sustains life, provides food, energy, recreation and jobs.
Rear Admiral Garba however observed that such factors as marine litters, indiscriminate marine resource exploitation, and inadequate tools for ocean management were threatening sustainable use of the ocean in Nigeria.
“Therefore, developing the digital twin of Nigeria’s waters in particular, and the entire Gulf of Guinea in general will provide the needed interface between policy makers, coastal communities, maritime security agencies, researchers, marine exploration and exploitation companies, as well as other maritime users. This will foster the right action for sustainable ocean governance and uses in Nigeria”, he said.
The naval chief said that conversations during the 2023 celebration in Nigeria would awaken collective consciousness towards pooling marine datasets together to develop an infrastructure that would serve the collective good of all stakeholders for sustainable ocean development.
Garba said the event would include awareness lectures aimed at arousing the interest of young minds to consider picking up a career in hydrography.
This, according to him, is to raise enough human capacity to provide quality hydrographic services to Nigeria’s policy makers and mariners.
On his part, Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Adm. Chukwuemeka Okafor, said that the navy had done a lot in the area of hydrographic survey in Nigeria.
According to him, there are over 3000 creeks and coastal area of about 420 nautical miles already surveyed in the country. He also said that survey was a continuous process, adding that the navy had not surveyed up to half of Nigeria’s waters because of its vastness.
He said that about 20 charts have been made covering River Niger from Lokoja to the Atlantic Ocean through River Ramos and Forcados River, and
that while additional seven charts would be unveiled in coming days, the surveying of Uguta Lake through Orassi River down to the Atlantic Ocean, up to Sombrero River and New Calaba River had reached 95 per cent.
According to him, the survey team will soon round that up and the charting team will commence the production of that chart.
“That axis will also be open and most States will be able to have access to the sea when that is completed, and navy will also be able to deploy its capital ships to provide maritime security along that axis,” he said.
Okafor said that the navy was expecting delivery of additional survey vessel that would be deployed to cover more grounds.
He said the World Hydrography Day was meant to sensitise more people of what hydrography is and the values it brings to every nation.