As part of its effort to achieve safe and secured maritime domain, the Nigerian Navy said it has stepped up efforts towards ensuring that it generates quality hydrographic data for the use of both mariners and maritime security agencies. To achieve this, the Navy recently established a Maritime Safety Information (MSI) Portal at the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office and it has also acquired two boats to boost the survey of the selected inland waters in Nigeria.
Speaking at the awareness workshop on Maritime Safety Information held in Lagos last week, vice-admiral Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, said that the hydrographic data would be used by the Navy and other maritime security agencies to police the waterways. The chief of Naval Staff, who was represented by Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, rear admiral SAG Abbah, said that the Navy is perfecting plans to also acquire ocean survey vessel for the survey and charting of the offshore areas of the nation’s maritime domain to further boost safety and security.
“The Nigerian Navy through its hydrographic office has produced three series of training charts covering Cotonou to Pennington River; Pennington River to Opobo River as well as Forcados and Escravos Rivers. These charts are currently being used by some training institutions in Nigeria for hydrographic capacity building,” he said. While stating that the Navy is committed to enabling Nigeria to become self-sufficient in the management of hydrographic data, assured that the agency would continue to partner other relevant stakeholders in the maritime industry to achieve that.
Commodore Chukwuemeka Okafor, hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, said during his address, that the workshop was organised to enable stakeholders to establish proof-of-concept for collection and sharing maritime safety information towards achieving safe and secure maritime domain.
According to him, Maritime safety and security is gamine to a virile maritime domain because lack of capacity to collect, process, analyse and disseminate safety information harms maritime trade and economic growth. This, he said, was why the newly established MSI portal was built to collate and disseminate information in form of navigational warnings to aid the movement of ships calling the nation’s waters. He, however, added that the MSI portal seeks to provide advantages to international shipping and also integrate Nigeria into World Wide Navigational Warning Services (WWNW) to mariners.
Commenting on the MSI portal, Emmanuel Ilori, publicity secretary of Nigeria Indigenous Ship Owners Association (NISA), who noted that the importance of hydrographic data and survey has been on the heart of safety of shipping, said that the collection of hydrographic data and survey has been relegated to the background over time. According to him, the establishment of MSI portal is a step in the right direction and ship owners and other mariners would continue to support the Navy. “We commend your effort in raising the bar of safety standards on the nation’s maritime domain but we encourage the Navy to continue to invest in the acquisition of other safety equipment especially in a sustained manner,” he added.