Navy wants upgrade of Hydrographic Department

Chiamaka Okechukwu, Lagos

The Nigerian Navy says its Hydrographic Department should be upgraded to National Hydrographic Office, NHO.

It said the upgrade and funding of the NHO would be under the presidency with the direct supervision of the vice President.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas said this at the 2017 World Hydrographic Day Celebration.

“The proposed NHO will be composed of mainly civilians from the hydrographic community and a handful of naval personnel with the following organs; NHO, the survey fleet and National Hydrographic School.

“Through this process, the NHO would be directly funded by the presidency with the prospects of hydrography contributing immensely for national development,” Mr Ibas said.

Challenges
The Naval Boss said it was difficult to fund hydrography from the Navy’s budgetary allocation alone considering the huge financial requirement involved in hydrographic operations and the enormity of surveying Nigeria’s vast domain.

In spite of efforts at improving hydrography in Nigeria, he emphasised that the pace of its development was still slow.

“This can be attributed to inadequate sensitisation of the political class which has largely contributed to its underfunding,” he stated.

Vice Admiral Ibas said the Navy had procured additional modern hydrographic survey equipment and commenced feasibility studies for the establishment of network of tide gauges across the coastline.

“When completed, this project will enhance the understanding of the impact of sea-level rise along the coast. It will also provide relevant data that would be used by mariners and hydrographic surveyors alike,” he said.

Maritime transportation
The Hydrographer of the Navy, Commodore Emeka Okafor said that hydrography contributed directly to the efficiency of maritime transportation.

“This allows voyages to be shortened if new routes are surveyed and modern application to survey operations is employed.

“It also supports maritime defence and security by allowing freedom of manoeuvre for search and rescue and naval operations,” Okafor said.

He added that hydrography was the key to well managed oceans, seas and waterways.

Mercy Chukwudiebere