Defence/Security

NNS LANA to facilitate improved charting, maritime activities – Navy Hydrographer

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22 Jun 2021 1:54 AM GMT
NNS LANA to facilitate improved charting, maritime activities – Navy Hydrographer
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 The Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Okafor, says  the recently acquired Hydrographic ship, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) LANA, will  enhance the  charting of all Nigeria’s maritime space. According to him, charting will help in the plan to further provide a more conducive environment toward facilitating  improved maritime activity for security and economic […]

(R-L): FOC, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Okafor and Navy Executive Officer, Commander Oladipo Giwa aboard NNS LANA.

The Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Okafor, says the recently acquired Hydrographic ship, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) LANA, will enhance the charting of all Nigeria’s maritime space.

According to him, charting will help in the plan to further provide a more conducive environment toward facilitating improved maritime activity for security and economic growth of the country.

Okafor made the assertion at an event to celebrate the 2021 World Hydrography Day, which held aboard the ship at NNS BEECROFT, Apapa, Lagos State, on Monday.

“The plan to ensure that the entire nation’s water is charted starts with the acquisition of the vessel, NNS LANA.

“Before now, the U.K. used to produce our charts for us because we did not have the capacity but with the acquisition of the vessel, we will now be producing our charts.

“Every nation is responsible for charting of its coastal and offshore waters,” he said.

The rear admiral said that the charts that had been produced before were produced using smaller boats to acquire biometric data used for the production of the charts.

“However, these boats cannot safely operate at the offshore areas. That is the reason NNS LANA is acquired for a better charting experience.

“Hitherto the arrival of the vessel, the Hydrography office developed national charting plan that shows how charts can be produced to cover all Nigeria’s maritime space.

“So, one after the other, those plans will be implemented using this vessel,” he said.

Okafor said that the Lagos Harbour chart, which was formerly produced by the U.K., had been replaced at the International Centre for Electronic Navigational Charts (ICENC) by one produced by Nigeria.

“We now have the capacity to start producing our charts and because we have produced this chart, it has replaced that previously produced by the U.K now.

“The U.K. was doing it for us before because we did not have the capacity but now that we have, we will gradually take over from them,” he said.

Explaining the capacity of NNS LANA, the Hydrographer said that though NNS LANA was an auxiliary ship, it had weapons that could be used to perform defence role to intercept any vessel at sea engaged in illegalities.

According to him, arrangements were made with the original equipment manufacturers for maintenance of the equipment and also the vessel for the nation to have value for its money.

“The Nigerian Navy has plans to acquire more hydrography vessel. The contract has already been awarded for another vessel.

“A 35- metre vessel that can work side by side NNS LANA and I am sure depending on the availability of funds we will continue to acquire more in the nearest future,” the rear admiral said.

He said that the Nigerian Navy was also consolidating efforts with other maritime agencies including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) among others.

“Efforts are ongoing to harness the surveying capabilities of all these agencies so that when they survey, they deposit the data with the Nigeria Navy Hydrographic office.

“We will now use the data to produce charts for the nation,” Okafor said.

The rear admiral said that the major challenge to Hydrographic development was funding because availability of funds depended on how much could be done.

“Also, we have the challenge of manpower but there is holistic approach to tackling hydrographic development in Nigeria.

“Shortly, the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School will be upgraded.

“It will get international accreditation to build the required manpower, not just within the military but also within the civil sector,” Okafor said.

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