Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba stated this on Friday.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, on Friday said that inadequate funds to produce charts and publications were threatening safe navigation in Nigerian Waters.
Mr. Ezeoba said this in Lagos in a message to the 2013 World Hydrographic Day celebration with the theme “Hydrography – Underpinning the Blue Economy’’.
The Chief of Naval Staff was represented by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ibok Ibas.
“Considering the huge financial requirements involved in hydrographic operations and the enormity of surveying Nigeria’s vast maritime domain, it is difficult, if not impossible, to fund hydrography from the Nigerian Navy budgetary allocation,’’ he said.
He said that every human activity conducted in, on, or under the sea depended on knowing the depth and the nature of the sea floor.
Mr. Ezeoba said that it also involved identifying any hazard that might exist and understanding the tides and the currents. He said obtaining and disseminating this hydrographic knowledge is the role of the world hydrographic surveyors and nautical cartographers.
“Their work is the most fundamental of all enablers required to develop and sustain the blue economy.
“Presently, the Nigerian Navy is in the process of developing Nigeria’s hydrographic capability in line with the IHO’S 3- Phase Hydrographic Capacity Building Strategy,’’ he said.
The naval chief said the Nigerian Navy had attained phase one of the Development Strategy which was the ability to collect and disseminate maritime safety information. He said that this would be in collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“The NN is currently on course in achieving the Phase 2 and 3 of the Capacity Building Strategy which involves the creation of surveying capacity and the ability to produce nautical charts respectively,” he said.
Mr. Ezeoba said that the Navy was in the process of acquiring a hydrographic vessel from the U.S. He said the Navy had been upgrading the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School (NNHS) to an IHO Certified Centre of Excellence for Hydrographic Studies.
“The slow pace in the development of hydrography in Nigeria is largely attributed to the government’s will and poor funding.
“Over the years, the activities of the NNHO have been solely funded by the NN as the national surveying and charting authority.
“It is also gratifying to note that the essence of this celebration is to give suitable publicity to global contributions of hydrography to all economic activities,’’ he said.
He said the economic activities were associated with the oceans, seas, harbours, ports and the coastal zones.
“As we celebrate the 2013 WHD, we should bear in mind the enormous responsibilities before us which include deeper cooperation to synergise and fast track the development of hydrography in Nigeria,’’ Mr. Ezeoba said.
Rear Admiral Abdullahi Inusa, a hydrographer of the Navy and President of Nigerian Hydrographic Society, said the purpose of charting a body of water was for the safety of navigation.
“However, the increasing need for exploration and exploitation of natural resources, tourism and awareness of marine environmental issues, among others, have led to increased demand for hydrographic information,” he said.
“The benefits of a modern up-to-date hydrographic data as in the case of the Irish Seabed Mapping Programme are exploited by over seven categories of stakeholders as well as over 100 research initiatives.
“In Nigeria, major beneficiaries of hydrographic services are the Ministries of Defence, Transport, Agriculture, Petroleum, Tourism, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Commerce as their activities are supported by the products of a hydrographic service.”