Hydrographic services must be prioritised for shipping development —NHS

A key service of hydrography, which involves surveying, charting and buoying of the waters to safe navigation, must be given prime attention in shipping, the body of hydrographers in Nigeria has said.

Mr Olumide Omotoso, the Chairman, Nigeria Hydrographic Society (NHS), Lagos/South West Zone and the Hydrographer General of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), called attention to that fact while making contributions to discussions at a recent focus group meeting held at a maritime event in Lagos.

Omotoso, however, noted that outcomes from several discussions on how to grow the shipping sub-sector have not given the required attention to hydrohgraphic services, which is all about safety for navigation.

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He decried the fact that there is not one institution in Africa training hydrographers on how to make the sea safe.

Speaking further on the importance of creating a safe environment for navigation, Omotoso said that only a few weeks ago when they buoyed the channel at Five Cowries creeks for inland waters, vessels immediately started going into the water.

“So, you can see the importance of buoys on water. Without the hydrographic survey and charting of the waters, you cannot buoy. It is an essential part of shipping.

“It is important to set up study groups that can offer expertise on what they are professional in. We can come and say we are able to offer service in the aspect of safety in the areas that concerns all the waters,” Omotoso said.

He mentioned that in spite of a big jetty in Lekki, people still found it difficult to bring their boats from Ikorodo due to lack of charts, just as boat operators get very mindful of the area from Victoria Island to Victoria Garden City.

“People are afraid because nobody is funding the charting of the waters. We are proposing the national hydrographic commission. We don’t even have inventory of all the rivers in Nigeria,” he added.

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