Navy Unveils Navigational Charts For Trade Connectivity, Maritime Efficiency

.... Imo, Ondo Governors Praise Navy Efforts for developing inland waterways freight corridor

The inland waterways freight corridor is being developed to expand trade connectivity and improve maritime logistics efficiency as the Nigerian Navy on Wednesday, unveiled seven (7) New Navigational Charts for River Alape, from Ondo to Lagos Sea to boost economic activities; including transportation, agriculture and tourism. 

The unveiling took place today, 21 June, 2023 at the 2023 World Hydrography Day Celebration in Abuja, with the theme, “Hydrography-Underpinning the Digital Twin of the Ocean”,which highlights the importance of hydrographic information in the digital age. 

The annual celebration according to the decision by the United Nations General Assembly is set aside, 21 June of every year to be celebrated as the World Hydrography Day, which shows the global significance of hydrography to human life and national development.

Speaking at the event, the Special Guest of Honour, Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma noted that it is essential to appreciate the pivotal role of hydrography and by extension, the waterways, in the development of the economies of littoral states. 

Governor Uzodinma said, throughout ancient history, water bodies have always been central to the development of human evolution and civilisation. To borrow from the words of the Hungarian Nobel Prize Winner, Albert Szent Gyorgyi. “Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium”

He said concerted efforts have been made by some state governments, in recent time, to partner with the Navy to facilitating navigable river channels within their States.

Governor Uzodinma who witness the unveiling of navigational charts linking Ondo to Lagos States via River Alape commended the Governor on Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, who in 2022 engaged the services of the Nigerian Navy to survey, chart and open-up River Alape from Ilaje in Ondo to Apapa in Lagos, to boost economic activities; including transportation, agriculture and tourism. 

He stressed that this is a laudable milestone that will forever remain indelible in the history of Ondo State and indeed Nigeria. "I encourage you not to relent until all waterways are adequately surveyed and charted for both navigation and other economic exigencies of Ondo State. This feat could not have been achieved today without the unrelenting efforts of the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic department under the guidance and purposeful leadership of our amiable Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral AZ Gambo CFR."

He also commended the team of highly dedicated and professional Naval personnel who are in Imo State, conducting the pre-dredging survey of the sea access development route of Imo State, from Oguta Lake, via Orashi River to the Atlantic Ocean.

In his remarks,  the Acting Governor of Ondo State, Chief Lucky Aiyedatiwa, said that Nigeria has extensive network of rivers and water landscape that had long been recognised as essential content for trade, transportation and economic growth.

Aiyedatiwa noted the nation could experience unprecedented economic growth by harnessing the power of its rivers for trade and commerce, which would lead to enhanced efficiency, reduced logistic cost and a more sustainable transport system. This according to him, will serve as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation, which will eventually attract local and foreign investment, breathing new life into maritime sector.

In his word, the Chief of Naval Staff able representated by Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Solomon Agaga revealed that the Nigerian Navy has commenced the collection and archiving of marine geo-spatial datasets through several hydrographic survey campaigns within Nigeria waters because conventional platforms cannot access many parts of Nigeria waters due to insufficient or lack of information that would guarantee their safety, thus creating a disconnect between policies, enforcement actions and the behaviour of the seafarers. 

He said, this therefore, necessitates a rethink towards developing the Digital Twin of our maritime environment to equip all stakeholders with accelerated knowledge of our waters for the purpose of eliciting the right responses towards improving the health of our ocean. 

The Naval Chief said it is worthy to state that the Nigerian Navy has completed the survey of the lower River Niger, River Alape, from Ilaje in Ondo State to Ikorodu in Lagos, part of Badagry creek, Lagos Harbour, Koluama creek and Bonny among several others.

He said currently, the Navy is conducting a pre-dredging survey of the proposed Oguta-Orashi Sea Access Route, from Oguta in Imo State to the Atlantic Ocean. Equally, the Service is surveying Nigeria’s coastal waters, with our recently acquired offshore survey vessel, NNS LANA. Additionally, the Nigerian Navy also has in its archives, a complete multi-beam hydrographic survey data of Nigeria’s offshore waters, from Lagos to Calabar.

He also stressed that the huge datasets collected during these surveys have been utilised to produce over 25 electronic charts, 24 paper charts and sizable marine geo-spatial datasets, for the development of the digital twin of Nigeria’s maritime environment. 

In his goodwill message, the Managing Director/CEO National Inland Waterways Authority, Chief Dr. George N. Moghalu the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and his great team deserves special compliments for their relentless contribution towards making Nigerian Waterways safe and thereby attractive to both Local and Foreign Investors.

He commended the Nigerian Navy for playing a key role in the business of safety and secured navigation in our waterways. These lofty in-prints can never be over-emphasized.

"It is a happy augury that this landmark event has demonstrated your love for the ocean and the blue economy of our dear country, Nigeria, which the Inland Waterways is driving to achieve. We cherish this collaborative bond and pray for the sustainability of this lofty bridge that we have built over the years.", he noted.

Nigerian Export -Import Bank, NEXIM, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Abba Bello ably represented by Mr Yong in his goodwill message commended the professionalism of the Nigerian Navy personnel on their survey/charting exploits, may we seize the opportunity to congratulate the NNHO once more on another milestone in adding to the growing number of indigenous nautical chart publications with the unveiling of River Alape Navigational Chart. With this unveiling, the inland waterways freight corridor is being developed to expand trade connectivity and improve maritime logistics efficiency. 

Also in his goodwill message, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR noted as a regulatory agency responsible for maritime safety and environmental protection, NIMASA recognizes the crucial role played by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Department in providing accurate and up-to-date information on our waters. 

"We commend the Department for its tireless effort in carrying out hydrographic surveys, charting, and publications,which has greatly enhanced safety and facilitate trade in our waters. As we celebrate World Hydrography Day, it is essential to stress the importance of collaboration between organizations involved in hydrography.", he said.

There was exhibition and presentaof three papers by resource persons, Commodore AM Idu, Mr Chidi Nwoke and Mr Chihozie Dimgba. Dignitaries at the historic occasion of 2023 World Hydrographic Day celebration were Chief of Naval, Chief of Defence Staff, Inspector-General of Police, Acting Ondo State Governor, Governor of Imo State, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport and Heads of Parastatals, Senior Officers of the Nigerian Navy,  DG NIMASA, MD and CEO NEXIM AND NIWA.

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