Nigeria celebrates five months zero attack on waterways

By David Adekunle, Lagos

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The Nigerian Government is celebrating five months of zero attack by pirates and sea robbers on the nation’s waterways.

Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki made this known while delivering a keynote address during the 2022 World Hydrography Day celebration in Lagos Southwest Nigeria.

Senator Saraki said the nation was celebrating because she has been able to combat piracy and crimes at sea within the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and her territorial waters.

According to the Minister, “This is the first time in 28 years that there has been no attack. This is a feat duly recognised by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). I therefore congratulate the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Navy and of course the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

“The celebration of the Hydrography Day is as much about the work and responsibilities of our Navy as it is about the geographical landscape of our waters.

“For a nation like ours with 853 kilometres of coastline, Hydrography is both an economic and a national security issue. To many of us not privileged to wear this Omo Bright sparkling white uniform, today is Hydrography Day. Every day is Hydrography Day to a Naval Officer or a Cadet.

“Like other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, hydrography has traditionally seen low rates of female participation. It is my hope that in your pursuit of excellence, you will begin to promote and include women in hydrography daily as well,” the Minister stated.

She said ‘Hydrography’ is the key driver of ocean science studies and depicts the physical features of the ocean, and that is the starting point for any meaningful understanding of the world oceans.

She said, “I am glad to note that this action is already receiving global accolade, with NNS LANA, awarded the “Best Large Research Vessel in the world for the Year 2022” by Baird Maritime.

“The Government has also placed an order with Messrs. OCEA of France for the delivery of a 35-meter hydrographic research vessel, which would work side-by-side NNS LANA to further boost the nation’s hydrographic research capacity towards actualizing the objectives of the UN’s Decade Ocean Science.

“In addition, the Nigerian Government established a committee on Blue Economy chaired by the Vice President, procurement of modern survey equipment and increased tempo of human capacity development to improve Nigeria’s capacity for hydrographic survey and charts.”

On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh explained that the importance of hydrography to the maritime industry cannot be overemphasized and that platforms like these can raise public awareness about hydrography’s global benefits to navigational safety, ocean conservation and environmental preservation.

NIMASA DG said, “I am delighted to be identified with the World Hydrography day. I want to seize this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO) and the Nigerian Hydrographic Society (NHS) for hosting the 2022 Worid Hydrography Day (WHD) Celebration in Nigeria.

“In addition to ensuring the safe and efficient navigation of ships, Hydrography underlies practically every other sea-related activity. “Just like part of NIMASA’s mission is to sustain safe and secure shipping, hydrography deals with monitoring physical features of the oceans and seas for the primary purpose of navigation safety.” he added.

The theme for this year’s World Hydrography Day is “Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade.”

 

Confidence Okwuchi

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