Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki Honourable Minister of State for Transportation of Nigeria

1. It is with great pleasure that I extend my warm and special greetings to everyone present today on the occasion of the 2022 World Hydrography Day Celebration in Nigeria. It is an established fact that the oceans are of immense importance both as a medium for global trade and a source of livelihood to mankind, as well as revenue generation for Governments. Hence the need to recognise and conserve the environment towards maximizing potentials thereof. The decision by the United Nations General Assembly to assent the adoption of 21st June of every year as the World Hydrography Day indicates global acknowledgement of the essential role hydrography plays for successful activities within the maritime domain.

2. In today’s globalized world, there is a growing concern for the future of oceans, particularly as it relates to health of its biodiversity. Studies have shown that tropical coral reefs may vanish by the turn of the century, and by 2050 there could be more plastics inside the ocean than fishes. Despite these looming dangers, there appear to be little or no effort at understanding the ocean environment to elicit appropriate actions to improve its health as national ocean research remains inadequately funded. These alarming statistics triggered United Nations action in December 2017, to declare the period from 2021 to 2030, as a decade of ocean science for sustainable development. This is aimed at leveraging ocean sciences at national and global levels, to drive actions and processes for reversing the decline in ocean health, while continuing to rely on the ocean for our ever-increasing needs.

3. To this end, ‘Hydrography’ stands out as the key driver of ocean science. It is pertinent to state that there will be no meaningful study of ocean parameters, if the ocean environment itself is not described accurately to enable scientists move safely to areas of interest. Additionally, hydrography directly contributes to identification of knowledge gaps in the ocean, which elicits appropriate government responses to fill gaps necessary to facilitate sustainable use of the ocean for the common good of mankind.

4. It is in this regard that I consider the selected theme for this year’s World Hydrography Day, which is “Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade”, quite apt. This is because, all over the world today, discussions will focus on various littoral governments’ efforts towards improving the health of our oceans, through appropriate hydrographic capacity development. In Nigeria, the Federal Government, under the visionary leadership of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has initiated actions towards identification of knowledge gaps in our ocean, through extensive hydrographic capacity development. Some of these actions include the establishment of a National Hydrographic Agency, which the Nigerian Navy is a critical component to provide the much-needed policy direction for synchronised hydrographic practices among stakeholders in the country. Furthermore, is the acquisition of a 60-meter offshore survey vessel; NNS LANA, to enable the Nigerian Navy collect relevant information about our ocean. I am glad to note that this action is already receiving global accolade, with NNS LANA, being awarded the “Best Large Research Vessel in the world for the Year 2022” by Baird Maritime.

5. The Government has also placed an order for delivery of a 35-meter hydrographic research vessel to work side-by-side NNS LANA towards actualizing objectives of the United Nation’s Decade of Ocean Science. This is in addition to procurement of modern survey equipment and increased tempo of human capacity development to improve Nigeria’s capacity for hydrographic surveying and charting. There are also renewed efforts to finalized process of extending Nigeria’s maritime space to the outer limits of its continental shelf, which will give the country sovereign rights and responsibility to study extensively the extended maritime area towards improving the well-being of Nigerians and prosperity of the Nation. Additionally, the Government has redoubled efforts to understand the nexus between maritime insecurity, crude oil theft and piracy, which provokes responses that made the International Maritime Organisation to redesignate Nigerian waters as piracy-free area earlier this year. There is no doubt that these and many other maritime initiatives aimed at improving marine conservation and to reduce marine pollution will be adequately supported by information generated from ongoing and future offshore surveys of Nigeria’s waters by the Nigerian Navy. I therefore, hope that today’s deliberations would not only outline current and ongoing contributions of hydrography to the United Nations Ocean Decade, but would also uncover future areas to be explored. This would go a long way to assist Nigeria emplace robust mechanisms to leverage United Nations Decade of Ocean Science initiative towards sustainability of Nigeria’s maritime environment.

6. On this note, distinguished invited guests, ladies, and gentlemen, it is my singular honour and privilege to declare the 2022 World Hydrography Day celebration in Nigeria open. I wish you happy celebrations. “Onward Together”.


1. I am delighted to be part of yet another edition of the World Hydrography Day Celebration in Nigeria. It would be recalled that the last gathering in this hall to celebrate World Hydrography Day was on 21 June 2019. Since then, we have not interacted and deliberated physically on this specialized discipline due to COVID - 19 pandemic. Therefore, I give glory to God Almighty for making it possible for us to engage one another once again.

2. Our Special Guest of Honour, distinguished guests, Nigeria joined the league of chart producing nations, when the first indigenous navigational chart was unveiled by the Nigerian Navy at the last World Hydrography Day. It is gladdening to note that barely 2 years down the line, 9 more navigational paper charts and 5 cells of Electronic Navigational Charts have been produced. Today, the Navy has achieved yet another milestone in developing hydrographic capacity, as its Hydrographic Office has commenced production of nautical publications. Accordingly, 2 publications, namely “Symbols and Abbreviations used on Nigeria’s Paper Charts” and “Rules of the Road” will be unveiled later during this event. Additionally, NNS LANA will unveil its maiden magazine; “the Gondola”, which chronicled activities from construction till date. These huge hydrographic capacity development efforts are coming at a time the world is focused on use of ocean sciences to achieve sustainable development.

3. Consequently, I consider the theme for 2022 World Hydrographic Day; which is “Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade” quite apt. This is due to the indispensability of hydrographic data in ocean scientific researches. Accordingly, we must appreciate our collective efforts towards the development of hydrography in Nigeria.

4. It is worthy of note that the Nigerian Navy recently commenced the first indigenous systematic survey of Nigeria’s coastal and offshore waters. This marked the beginning of systematic study of Nigeria’s waters and the campaign would be sustained until our entire offshore waters are completely surveyed. Pertinently, knowledge of the physical properties of the environment would be used, not only for nautical charts production, but also to aid Federal Government towards policy formulation that would reverse the cycle of decline in Nigeria’s ocean health. Furthermore, these hydrographic data would assist relevant agencies to delineate critical marine protected and potential deep sea mining areas. These would further position Nigeria on the right part towards improved national economic growth, development and security.

5. Our Special Guest of Honour, distinguished guests, let me state that Nigerian Navy would not have been able to attain this hydrographic capability without the support of the Federal Government. Therefore, please permit me to sincerely thank the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, for his continued support to the Nigerian Navy. I want to assure His Excellency, that the NN is determined to drive the national hydrographic capacity development in line with your next level agenda. I wish to also salute the visionary leadership of my boss, the HMoD and the CDS, which has focused the NN towards the accomplishment of statutory tasks. We are indeed grateful Sir. For the leadership and members of the National Assembly, I thank you for understanding the peculiar needs of the NN, which you have demonstrated time and again through timely appropriations.

6. At this juncture, I would like to acknowledge the encouraging synergy between the Navy and other maritime stakeholders in Hydrography, particularly the Ministry of Transportation. For members of the Nigerian Hydrographic Society and other maritime operators present here, your cooperation with the Nigerian Navy is held in high esteem and I urge you to leverage the successes so far achieved in hydrographic development in Nigeria.

7. On this note, our Special Guest of Honour, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you all for being with us today to celebrate the 2022 World Hydrography Day in Nigeria. I wish you all fruitful deliberations during the plenary session. Onwards Together.

By Rear Admiral CE Okafor, Hydrographer of the Navy

1. It is with great pleasure, that I welcome you all to the 2022 World Hydrography Day celebration in Nigeria. World Hydrography Day presents an opportunity, for stakeholders in hydrography, all over the world, to highlight the importance of hydrography, to the socio-economic development of both littoral and land-locked nations. In order to properly focus the attention of the world to the specific human life supported by hydrography, the International Hydrographic Organisation choses a theme for each year’s world hydrographic day celebration. Accordingly, the theme for the 2022 world hydrography day is, “Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade.”

2. This theme, seeks to outline the important role hydrography plays, and, will continue to play, as the world looks for solution, to the deteriorating health of its oceans, from 2021 to 2030. It is no longer news, that, the world’s oceans cover over 70 per cent of the earth’s surface, with nearly half of the world’s human population, living within 50 miles of a coast, and more than 3.5 billion people depend on the oceans for their primary source of food. The oceans of the world form the clouds that bring us rain, which replenish our freshwater supplies. It also regulates our climate, provides endless source of renewable energy, and revenue generation for nations. Above all, the oceans provide numerous medicinal and health benefits to us, as many bio-medical products, which we take, are derived from marine plant and animal sources within the oceans.

3. Despite these benefits, human activities are increasingly resulting to marine pollution, ocean acidification, overfishing and sea level rise among others, which directly impinge on the intricate workings, that keep the oceans and our planet, in a perfect symbiotic balance. This situation, prompted the United Nations in 2017, to declare the period from 2021 to 2030, as a Decade of Ocean Science, for Sustainable Development, in order to enable humanity, to rethink its relationship, with the world’s oceans. This is to be achieved, through the use of ocean sciences, to understand the severity of human activities, on the health of the oceans, in order to institute governance measures, that would ensure conservation, and sustainable use of the oceans.

4. In this regard, hydrography, as a branch of applied sciences, stands out as a major scientific tool, that offers indispensable knowledge, which mariners and policy makers, could leverage to ensure conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. If you look around you, almost everything that sustains human lives; whether goods, services or even production, is likely, to have been made available through the oceans. Ships, as we know, will be unable to safely sail, from one part of the ocean, to another without accurate and up-to-date hydrographic information. Furthermore, hydrography provides the basic information required for all forms of studies, engineering, regulatory framework, and management, within the oceans.

5. As we deliberate on the contributions of hydrography, towards the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans for the next decade, we need to ask ourselves, how much of hydrographic information is available to policy makers in Nigeria, to guide them in the governance of Nigeria’s territorial waters, as a part of the world’s oceans? How much of hydrographic information is available to maritime users in Nigeria to enable them engage in practices that would ensure the conservation and sustainable use of Nigeria’s waters? Again, what ocean education, does the people living within 50 miles of Nigeria’s coast, have to enable them indulge in activities that would improve the health of Nigeria’s waters? Lastly, how many of our policy makers, are aware that, hydrographic information, can help them provide regulatory framework, to facilitate sustainable interactions within Nigeria’s ocean? I strongly believe, that, at the end of today’s world hydrography day celebration in Nigeria, answers to these posers would have been provided. I also believe that today’s event would provide enough awareness on how effective hydrographic service delivery in Nigeria, would help reduce plastic wastes, manufactured chemicals, petroleum wastes, agricultural runoff, and biological threats in our waters. This, would in-turn improve Nigeria’s economy, and the health of its citizenry, as harmful toxins, ingested through eating contaminated seafoods, would be reduced to barest minimum.

6. My optimism, is predicated on the fact that, Nigeria has never witnessed the kind of hydrographic developmental strides, and capacities it currently has. For instance, Nigeria is today among the chart producing nations of the world, capable of producing not just nautical charts, but also specialized hydrographic products, like, Environmental Sensitivity Index charts, beach gradient maps and several nautical publications, to guide policy makers, maritime security agencies and mariners alike, while engaging in any form of maritime activities. Nigeria is also able to generate and disseminate maritime safety information to all users. There is also reasonable number of human capital, available in the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, National Inland Waterways Authority, National Institute for Oceanographic and Marine Research, the academia and in the private sector, to conduct marine scientific research, that would provide more information of our waters, to facilitate sustainable use of our oceans, in line with the objectives of the UN’s Ocean Decade. Additionally, the 60-meter offshore survey vessel, in the inventory of the NN, as well as one 35-meters coastal survey boat, and two inland survey boats due to be delivered to the NN and National Inland Waterways Authority, respectively, suggest that there would be adequate hydrographic information for all users across the country, within the period of the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science.

7. There are also ongoing collaborative efforts among stakeholders to further improve the existing hydrographic capacities in the country. Currently, the Nigerian Navy, National Inland Waterways Authority and NEXIM Bank are surveying some critical inland waters of Nigeria, in order to provide more information that would facilitate measures to enhance sustainable development in Nigeria within the next decade. Additionally, Nigerian Navy and University of Lagos are working together to ensure sustainable supply of hydrographic skilled human capital to all stakeholders in Nigeria. These, and many more initiatives, would, no doubt facilitate availability of the right information of our waters, which would be utilized by Government, security agencies, researchers, the academia, mariners, and maritime practitioners to ensure proper management, conservation and sustainable use of Nigeria’s waters, towards the realization of the objectives of the UN Ocean Decade. I, therefore, urge you participants to leverage the advantages offered by this year’s world hydrography day to form bounds, create networks and exchange ideas. This is because more collaborations would be required in the coming years, so as to harness our individual hydrographic potentials for more improved hydrographic practice and efficient service delivery within the decade in view. The Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office is willing to work with all relevant stakeholders to facilitate the fulfilment of Nigeria’s National and International hydrographic obligations.

8. At this juncture, Special Guest of Honour, distinguished invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, please permit me to acknowledge the strategic guidance and support received from the Chief of the Naval Staff, through my immediate boss, the Chief of Training and Operations, which have enabled Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office to sustain momentum in hydrographic capacity development of Nigeria. Sir, we are grateful and always ready for further directives. I am also grateful to the leadership of the Nigerian Ports Authority, National Inland Waterways Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NEXIM Bank, National Institute for Oceanographic and Marine Research, Nigerian Hydrographic Society and University of Lagos, for sharing your hydrographic capabilities with us. This has, in no small measure, added to the overall hydrographic capacity development of Nigeria, and ultimately, positioned Nigeria as one of the countries of the world that would fully restore the health of its part of the world’s oceans, by the year 2030.

9. I wish to recognize also the foundation laid by past Hydrographers of the Navy and those of other agencies present here, without which there would be nothing for us to build on. We are grateful for your mentorship and the training we received from you when you were with us. To the upcoming hydrographers, I urge you to pay attention to our mentorship and instructions, for that is the only sure way, of achieving sustainability in hydrographic capacity development, when you take over the baton from us.

10. On this note, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank all our distinguished guests for honouring our invitation. We are not unmindful of the traffic huddles you crossed to be with us this morning. We greatly appreciate your presence. Once again, welcome to the 2022 world hydrography day celebration in Nigeria.

God bless you all; ‘Onward Together’.

By Baird Maritime

Nigeria has a desperate need for more detailed research of its marine domain and a similar need for effective offshore patrolling. How logical it was, then, for the two requirements to be served by one magnificent vessel.

The chosen builder/designer was the very well-respected and renowned French aluminium specialist OCEA, whose ships we see frequently on these pages. OCEA has produced a typically purposeful, rugged and efficient ship that will also be impressively versatile and well able to handle both roles.

The vessel was designed and built to offer excellent operational capabilities thanks to a combination of improved seakeeping, the effective integration of scientific sensors and systems, and reduced environmental impact,” OCEA told Baird Maritime. “For the latter aspect, this meant reductions in radiated noise, vibrations, and pollution.”

NNS Lana used a proven design that was utilised for two oceanographic survey vessels that OCEA supplied to the Indonesian Navy and that have been in operation for eight years. Modifications included features to make the vessel more suitable for operations in Nigerian territorial and EEZ waters. Besides the typical sonars and other sensors, the suite of onboard equipment therefore also includes tools for sampling, storage and analysis of water, fish and sediment.

There are also wet and dry laboratories, scientific data management tools, and space for a 7.6-metre survey vehicle for use in shallow inland and coastal waters.

by Lieutenant U.K. EREGE Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office
Paper presented at the World Hydrography Day Celebration Lagos Nigeria, June 2021
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1. The link between humans and oceans has been fundamental to the development of civilization. Throughout history, the seas and oceans of the world have been essential for the exchange of goods, people, ideas and religion.This is evident today as about 80 per cent of global trade by volume is presently being carried by seas and oceans which cover 75 per cent of the earth’s surface.2 Global maritime trade has effectively permitted an enormous variety of resources to be more widely accessible and has enabled the widespread distribution of our planet's common wealth and to the increase and acceleration of the development of many States3.This dependence of trade on marine transportation therefore makes having accurate and up-to-date information about the seas crucial. A critical understanding of these waterways towards ensuring their safe and effective utilization by nations and other entities necessitated the development of applied sciences such as hydrography. Hydrography is that branch of applied sciences which deals with the measurement and description of the features of the seas and coastal areas for the primary purpose of navigation and all other marine purposes and activities, including offshore activities, research and protection of the environment4. Hydrography provides such vital information as water depth, hazards, tides and currents among others which enables mariners navigate safely across seas and oceans

2. There are no barriers, boundaries, or borders in the ocean, and although we often list the oceans separately, they are all interconnected to each other, forming one global ocean5. This means that coastal nations all over the world are affected by the connectedness of the ocean thus underscoring the international relevance of hydrography. Hydrographic information has typically been published in the form of nautical charts. These charts connected the global oceans across continents and proved critical for providing mariners the world over with the information they needed to navigate ships safely and efficiently. It therefore meant that international cooperation between chart making nations was crucial to ensure standardization of these nautical publications in order to eliminate ambiguity and ensure conformance to universally accepted practices. Additionally, mariners always needed to know the water routes to countries and ports with which they traded. This required the use of charts which had to be interpreted from foreign languages. Hence, there existed a pressing need to achieve international standardization in nautical charts and associated publications in the interest of peaceful trade and the development of better global communications.

3. The need to promote international cooperation and conformity to standards led to the first tangible steps being taken to establish an international organization that would promote the objectives of conformance to standards through coordinated international action. This was achieved through a meeting of hydrographers at a conference held in Washington in 1889 and a second one held in Saint Petersburg in 1912. Furthermore in 1919, a hydrographic conference was held in London and had 24 countries in attendance6. It was here that a unanimous decision was taken to establish a permanent coordinating organization to standardize charts and nautical products in aid to safety of navigation within world’s seas, oceans and lakes. This move gave birth to the International hydrographic Bureau (IHB). The Bureau commenced its activity in 1921 with headquarters in the Principality of Monaco7. On 31 May 1976, Nigeria joined the IHB in order to demonstrate her commitment to providing accurate hydrographic services for international and local shipping and thus promote international cooperation. In a bid to achieve the aforementioned objectives, the federal government instituted several agencies with connected interests in hydrography in relation to coastal waters and inland waterways. These agencies include the Nigerian Navy (NN), Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). Over the past decades, these agencies have collaborated in various aspects of hydrography in a bid to provide mariners with up-to-date nautical information in the most standard form in order to aid safe navigation within Nigeria’s waters. Notwithstanding this inter-agency cooperation, hydrography in Nigeria still remains fledgling stage.

4. It is against this backdrop that this paper seeks to highlight 100 years of international cooperation in hydrography with emphasis on interagency cooperation in Nigeria. The paper will cover historical development of hydrography, 100 years of international cooperation in hydrography as well as overview of hydrography in Nigeria. The paper will further consider interagency cooperation in hydrography in Nigeria, challenges of interagency cooperation among hydrographic stakeholders in Nigeria and finally a path forward: priority areas for interagency collaboration between maritime stakeholders in Nigeria. It is assumed that the effective synergy between hydrographic stakeholders in Nigeria will aid in the improvement of international hydrographic cooperation. The paper shall be limited to the last 100 years of international hydrography which is the period of coordinated efforts in the practice of hydrographic survey.


5. The aim of this paper is to highlight 100 years of international cooperation in hydrography, while laying emphasis on inter-agency collaboration between hydrographic stakeholders in Nigeria with a view to making recommendations.


6. One of the oldest stories of the sea titled ‘The Odyssey’ was written by the Greek poet Homer, circa 900 B.C. It tells the story of the mythical sea voyage made by the legendary Greek king Odysseus and mentions a part in it where Odysseus says to his crew ‘My friends, east and west mean nothing to us here’ referring to when they were lost in the vast seas during the course of their voyage. The first Western civilization known to have developed the art of navigation at sea was the Phoenicians, circa 2000 B.C. During these ancient times, sea voyages were undertaken using sailing directions which were based on the experience and estimates of seafarers. These sailing directions contained important information that was needed to safely sail from one port to the other. In more recent times, nations of the world began to develop the art of hydrography and nautical chart making as a means of facilitating safety of navigation at sea. Early hydrographic surveys consisted of depths measured by sounding pole and hand lead line, with positions determined by three-point sextant fixes to mapped reference points8. Lead lines were ropes, or lines, with depth markings and lead weights attached with the lines lowered and read manually to obtain depth values.

7. The nation of Denmark was one of the earliest countries to conduct hydrographic survey and nautical charting on a national scale. The Danish Admiralty first organized and conducted charting of Danish waters in the late 1600s. This included mapping the country’s 500 islands and 7000-km long coastline9. In 1784, the country had collected relevant navigational details for both Danish and international waters. Thus, reliable and accurate charts were developed for both Danish Navy and Merchant Marine. The USA traces its nautical charting efforts back to 1807 when President Thomas Jefferson founded the agency known as Survey of the Coast to provide nautical charts that would ensure safe shipping, national defense, and maritime boundaries. The agency conducted hydrographic and oceanographic surveys, producing its first set of 6 charts from 1843 to 184510. The agency was renamed Office of Coast Survey and became a department under the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which was designated as the national hydrographic office of the USA. Other countries such as United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand also began nautical charting of their waters in the 18th and 19th century thus giving birth to the global use of nautical charts for navigation at sea and improved maritime safety. The Australian Hydrographic Service formerly known as the Royal Navy Hydrographic Service was established by the British Admiralty Hydrographic Office in 1897 to boost hydrographic survey in Australian waters. In 1913, the hydrographic depot was taken over by the Australian government and was renamed the RAN Hydrographic Department. Captain John Robins, RAN was appointed first Hydrographer in 1920 when the RAN Hydrographic Department was established at Navy Office in Melbourne on 01 October 1920. Subsequently, survey activities were performed by Royal Navy vessels until World War I11. Surveying operations did not resume in the region until World War II, when it became evident that Age of Sail-era charts of the South West Pacific desperately needed updating with the RAN designated as the charting authority responsible for supporting Allied operations in the South West Pacific Area.

8. After the First World War, hydrographic efforts of various coastal nations of the world brought about tremendous improvements in the frontiers of the science of hydrography. As technology evolved so also did hydrographic methods as well as techniques, which brought about varying degrees of standards being adopted by different countries. However, the global nature of hydrography and nautical charts making meant that there was an urgent need to harmonize the efforts of these hydrographic and chart producing nations. New Hydrographic Offices were established and those already existing were developed. The Directors of the Hydrographic Offices of France and United Kingdom considered the possibility of holding an International Conference and the French director suggested that London would be the most adequate place to stage such a meeting. In June 1919, at the invitation of the British Admiralty, a hydrographic conference was convened in London, in which 24 nations participated12. This marked the beginning of international cooperation in hydrography.


9. International cooperation in hydrography truly began with the coordinated efforts of France and United Kingdom at organizing the first international conference in hydrography where various stakeholders from all over the world could come together to discuss hydrography related issues as well as develop a roadmap towards achieving seamlessness in hydrographic operations.. Upon the restoration of peace after the First World War, the French and British Hydrographers came together, and in April 1919 the British Hydrographer submitted his official proposal to hold the world's first International Hydrographic Conference in London to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. One of the most notable resolutions passed during the meeting was for the establishment of a permanent international bureau. It was agreed at the Conference in London that some form of IHB should be established, and that a longer period of work was necessary to develop this project. To examine this question, a special committee, called the International Hydrographic Conference Committee, was appointed13. This committee prepared the first draft Statutes and a set of provisional directions. Its work culminated in 1921, with the adoption of Statutes by the founding States Members, and the election of the first Directing Committee. This body was formed by Vice Admiral Parry from the United Kingdom, Rear Admiral Phaff of the Netherlands and Captain Müller from Norway. Commander Spicer-Simpson from the UK, who had been the Official Interpreter at the London Conference, was appointed as Secretary General. Thus, on 21 June 1921, the IHB was formally established and began its activities with 18 Member States14. The Principality of Monaco was selected as the seat of the Bureau, partly for its central location, but largely because of the generous offer of Prince Albert I of Monaco to provide accommodation for this new Organization. This action was the result of the interest of Prince Albert I in the fields of hydrography and oceanography, being himself an eminent marine scientist and explorer. On 22 September 1970, an intergovernmental convention was enforced that officially recognized the Organization as the International Hydrographic Organization and its secretariat became known as the IHB15.

10. The designation of the IHO as an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization has played a vital role in ensuring international cooperation in hydrography. This has been achieved through the support of safe and eco-friendly marine navigation by providing accurate and timely hydrographic information to the general public. As at 29 January 2021, the total number of IHO member states was 9416. The IHO council which is made up of representatives from member states including Nigeria has also effectively supported IHO objectives. In coordinating global hydrographic survey operations, IHO is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that all the world’s oceans, seas and navigable waters are properly surveyed and charted, through the coordinated endeavors of national Hydrographic Offices that also contribute to the promulgation of Maritime Safety Information (MSI). This is with the vision to ‘be the authoritative worldwide hydrographic body which actively engages all coastal and interested states to advance maritime safety and efficiency and which supports the protection and sustainable use of the maritime environment’17. The mission of the IHO is to ‘create a global environment in which States provide adequate and timely hydrographic data, products and services and ensure their widest possible use and to finally protect by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as a competent international organization in the field of Hydrography’18. For effective and efficient coordination of national hydrographic offices of member states, IHO set specific objectives which are found under Article II of Convention on the IHO. Thus, the IHO continues to influence national practices which countries have sacrificed in the interest of achieving an international goal which would permit mariners of all nationalities the maximum use of nautical publications published in any part of the world.

11. Hydrographic technology has also advanced over the course of 100 years and this has been largely due to cooperation among member states and also the IHO. IHO has been a key driver in these technological advancements through development of standards, guidance, products and services. The IHO develops and adopts standards and guidance that ensure that hydrographic information is available and can be delivered to users through appropriate harmonized and interoperable products and services. The current maintenance of existing standards and the development of new ones are driven by the need to continue to satisfy the SOLAS requirements of enhancing safety of navigational, and more recently, supporting the implementation of “e-navigation”, which is being led by the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO)19. Both elements require easy access to standardized high quality digital geospatial information that can support marine spatial management. . Accordingly, the IHO continued to work on its Standards framework such as S-100, to support the creation and maintenance of interoperable maritime data product specifications compliant with that of the ISO-19100 series of geographic information standards.

12. As result of the work done by IHO, many Member States including Nigeria are making significant efforts to tailor technological advancements and methods in line with IHO as well as utilizing such datasets for national and international coverage. Through its active technical and capacity building programmes conducted in close liaison with other international organizations, notably the International Maritime Organization and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the IHO supports the development and improvement of hydrographic and nautical charting standards, products and services, especially in digital formats. These capabilities contribute directly to safe navigation, informed marine spatial planning and coastal management and the prevention of natural disasters. Therefore, the collaborative efforts fostered by the IHO among member states have thus ensured that most of the world’s established shipping routes are relatively safe for navigation.

13. In a bid to keep shipping routes within Nigeria’s maritime space safe, hydrographic practice and nautical charting in Nigeria have been greatly influenced by the standards and guidelines set out by the IHO. This has largely informed Nigeria’s decisions in the development of methods and technologies utilized during hydrographic data acquisition and the production of Nigeria’s indigenous paper charts and electronic navigational charts (ENCs).


14. Hydrography in Nigeria dates back to the early eighteenth Century, when the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty now present day United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), surveyed and published charts used for navigation in Nigerian waters. On 18 August 1827, the first chart produced by the Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty covering Nigerian waters was published. That chart was titled Chart 594 - Chart of the West Coast of Africa and it was based on surveys carried out by HM Ships Leven and Barracouta under the direction of Captain W.F.W. Owen. By 1846, most of Nigeria’s coastline had been surveyed at a scale of 1:72,000 through the use of leadline method and on 7 February 1861, the first chart of Lagos titled Chart 2812 – Lagos River, was published. The UKHO also conducted hydrographic surveys within Old Calabar River and Akwayafe River using HM Ships Peacock and Beacon. These surveys resulted in the production of fairsheets for the rivers20.

15. In 1914, the Nigerian Marine Department was established. The Department was controlled by the Director of Marine and was responsible for all maritime matters including hydrographic surveys in the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. By October 1928, the first hydrographic survey was carried out by the Department21. The areas surveyed included Lagos Harbour, Apapa Crossing and Channel Approaches to Customs to Wharf. The data obtained during the surveys were forwarded to the UKHO for the production and update of their charts. The early 1950s saw extensive modernization of port facilities in Nigeria which had to be properly managed to ensure productivity. This led to the enactment of the Ports Authority Ordnance of 1954 which created the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)22. Amongst the numerous roles of the NPA, was to provide hydrographic survey within the port limits of Lagos Harbour and the rivers of Forcados, Warri and Bonny. In November 1954, the first hydrographic survey by NPA was conducted at the Escravos River entrance.

16. The colonial government of Nigeria identified the need for a naval force for maritime security of Nigeria’s territorial waters and on 1 June 1956, the Nigerian Naval Service was established and had amongst its obligations, to undertake hydrographic surveys outside port limits as directed by the Federal Government. This Service would later evolve into the Nigerian Navy (NN) through an Act of Parliament passed after Nigeria’s independence. The Act of Parliament of 1964 further charged the NN with the responsibility of producing nautical charts and superintend over national hydrographic matters. Accordingly, the NN established the NNHD in 1970 to carry out this responsibility on its behalf. The NNHD was further sub-divided into the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO), Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School (NNHS) and the NN Hydrographic Ship for ease of operation and administration. These efforts were aimed at building hydrographic capacity for the NN towards meeting its responsibilities to aid in facilitating maritime activities by improving safety of navigation and reliability of our shipping routes. Another objective for the establishment of the NNHD was to foster both local and international cooperation with various stakeholder agencies and organizations in the hydrographic sector.

17. The federal government established other hydrographic related agencies such as Nigerian Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR). NIMASA was established to promote safety of Nigeria's waterways. NIMASA undertook hydrographic surveys which was necessary for removal of wrecks and underwater obstructions to facilitate safety of navigation in Nigerian waters23.In the area of ocean research studies, NIOMR was established to conduct hydrographic and oceanographic survey activities for research into the resources and characteristics of Nigeria's territorial waters24.

18. Private oil and survey companies also contributed to hydrographic survey operations in Nigeria. With the discovery of crude oil in mainly offshore locations such as Oloibiri, Afam and Bomu in the 1950s, several foreign oil companies including Shell/Darcy Petroleum Development Company and Mobil Exploration Company of Nigeria, began prospecting for oil and gas25. In order to conduct these prospecting activities, hydrographic survey was utilized in obtaining critical information about the marine areas that the oil fields were located. Apart from oil exploration related survey operations, hydrographic survey work was also done by some oil companies with respect to environmentally related activities. In 1957, Shell/Darcy Petroleum Development Company in conjunction with local survey authorities, conducted hydrographic surveys in Bonny and Calabar River. The survey was carried out along with oceanographic and meteorological observations to determine the occurrences of bar at the entrance to the Bonny River during heavy rains and the weather that can be expected in Bonny vicinity under the worst conditions which occur during the rains26.

19. The establishment of the above agencies by the federal government was as a result of the growing understanding of hydrography and hydrographic related activities and how they affected maritime activities both locally and globally. The need for proper coordination of hydrographic efforts in Nigeria also saw several inter-agency cooperative efforts that would further institutionalize hydrography in Nigeria.


20. The advancement of hydrography in Nigeria has been due in no small measure to the cooperative efforts of the various hydrographic stakeholders and their contributions towards the improvement of hydrographic knowledge and best practices. Since independence, Nigeria has continued to strive to fulfill her hydrographic obligations under the various international conventions she acceded to. In carrying out these responsibilities, various government agencies charged with hydrographic functions in Nigeria like the NN, NPA, NIMASA, NIWA and NIOMR interface with each other in what is called interagency cooperation, to advance hydrographic practice and nautical charting in order to facilitate safety of navigation within our waters.

21. Accordingly, interagency cooperation in Hydrography in Nigeria dates back to the 1950s and 1960s when the NN was carved out from NPA following an act of parliament. This led to the ceding of some vessels to the NN. Among the ships ceded to the NN by the NPA was a survey vessel named Pathfinder, which was used by the NN, in collaboration with the NPA, for hydrographic survey duties in the 50s. Between 1956 and 1958, NN and NPA conducted the survey of Lagos harbour, Opobo River (Imo River entrance), approaches to Lagos, Escravos River, Forcados River, Nun River, Bimbia River, Burutu and Benin River27. These early collaborative efforts in hydrographic surveys between NN and NPA during their formative years was thus very instrumental in obtaining important hydrographic data that were used during the production and update of nautical charts by the British Admiralty for part of Nigeria’s territorial waters.

22. Following the establishment of the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO) in 1973 to carry out the responsibilities of charting and coordination of all national hydrographic surveys, more collaborative efforts were made with NPA and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that hydrographic practices in Nigeria are in accordance with international standards laid down by the IHO. During this period, the hydrographic offices of the NN and NPA interacted through exchange of ideas during conferences both at local and IHO levels. The interaction also led to the conduct of joint trainings and surveys and above all exchange of hydrographic data and Maritime Safety Information (MSI). These collaborations have facilitated the sustainment of MSI dissemination to mariners all over the world via Nigeria’s MSI portal domiciled at the NNHO. It also facilitated the production of Nigeria’s national navigational charts covering Lagos harbor and part of Badagry Creek. As at today, NPA shares its quarterly survey data with the NNHO for update of existing navigational charts.

23. Nigeria’s maritime boundary delimitation efforts also provided another opportunity for cooperation between hydrographic stakeholder agencies specifically the NN and NIOMR. The federal government identified the western part of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) as a region over which it could extend its national jurisdiction over the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. This process required the submission of supporting scientific and technical data on the outer limits of the continental shelf to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) through the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN). These key technical data were obtained through hydrographic and seismic survey activities involving a multiagency survey operation by the NN, National Boundary Commission (NBC) and NIOMR. These agencies conducted joint survey operations in 2009 and 2016 around the identified western region within the GoG. The data collected from these collaborative survey activities have been submitted to the UN CLCS for consideration and possible approval for additional 150nm continental shelf for Nigeria. Nigeria. This joint effort between the NN, NBC and NIOMR in conducting survey operations for the purpose of national interest was largely applauded in all quarters of government. It is hoped that the CLCS would give a positive feedback and subsequently ratify the extension of Nigeria’s outer territorial limits to 350nm.

24. There also exist a cooperation arrangement between the NN and NIMASA through executed MOU in area of hydrography. As at today, NN Hydrographic Officer heads the Hydrographic Survey Services Unit (HSSU) of NIMASA. This Unit, which operates under the direct supervision of the Executive Director of Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, was established to provide hydrographic services in areas pertaining to national maritime safety administration. This collaborative effort between the NN and NIMASA has also helped in sustaining MSI dissemination to mariners within Nigerian waters. It has also helped in identification of wrecks dangerous to navigation along Tin-can Ijegun channel, which has cut the attention of Nigerian Government and subsequently led to approval for their removal. It is believed that NIMASA will commence action for the removal of these wrecks in the next few months. It is, therefore, safe to say that the cooperative agreement between the NN and NIMASA has been effective towards ensuring hydrographic surveys foe wreck removals and identification of dangers to navigation towards enhancing safety of navigation with Nigeria’s waterways.

25. In addition to collaboration among government agencies, there is also some form of collaboration that exist between private hydrographic practitioners and government agencies in the field of hydrography, primarily for the purpose of ensuring safety of navigation. For instance, the NPA is in a joint venture partnership with Lagos Channel Management and Bonny Channel Company for maintenance of Lagos and Bonny channels respectively. This has ensured safety of ships calling at the ports, with inherent advantage of improved revenue generation for the Government. The NN on the hand, through its Hydrographic Office monitors the activities of private survey companies engaged in any form of hydrographic and seismic surveys, as well as other marine scientific research activities within our waters. This is in accordance with the United Nation Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as Nigeria’s petroleum regulation L.N. 69 of 1969. Through this, companies are meant to conduct their survey and other survey-related activities within the approved limits and also acquire only data for which approval is given. At the end of the survey activities, these companies are meant to submit acquired bathymetric data to the NNHO for archival, as part of the National marine geo-spatial data infrastructure for Nigeria. These data always form the basis for update of existing charts and also provide basic information to surveyors and marine scientists wishing to carry out further studies within same area in future. This is in line with the concept of crowd-sourced bathymetry of the IHO, which is intended to obtain bathymetric data from other sources for various applications, particularly in chart updates. Thus, the cooperation between the NN and private practitioners in hydrographic and other related activities in Nigeria has helped in preventing clandestine survey of our waters for intentions inimical to Nigeria’s national security and has also facilitated the development of marine geospatial data for national and other uses.

26. Nigeria has made modest gains in the development of hydrographic capability and standards through interagency cooperation among hydrographic stakeholders. These cooperative efforts have also translated to increased productivity from the individual agencies. Through collaborative efforts with the NN and private stakeholders, NPA has consistently and regularly conducted dredging and hydrographic surveys of all ports and harbour facilities. This has greatly aided shipping activities by ensuring free flow of vessels in and out of the ports and through the channels. NIMASA has also benefitted from interagency collaboration as they have also carried out surveys including bottom profiling surveys which were done to better assess the existence of guyots and other forms of navigational hazards around the Lagos Harbour entrances. Interaction between government agencies and private hydrographic firms also contributed to crowd-sourced bathymetric data that are crucial datasets for international initiative related to hydrography and nautical charting. Notwithstanding the successes achieved through interagency cooperation in Hydrography in Nigeria, there is still room for more improved collaboration among stakeholders in order to fully develop hydrographic practices in Nigeria. It is hoped that the recent induction of a 60-meter hydrographic survey vessel into the NN fleet will stem the tide in this regard.


27. Establishing a cooperative attitude and close working relationship among industries, and federal as well as state government hydrographic agencies is the best way of ensuring effective hydrographic and charting efforts in Nigeria. However, several challenges exist which have hampered such collaborative efforts. These challenges include lack of proper legislation, lack of joint participation/organization of interagency hydrographic forums as well as inadequate information and knowledge sharing. These challenges shall be discussed subsequently.


28. The legal frameworks establishing several maritime stakeholders in Nigeria such as NIMASA, NPA and NIWA, could sometimes be a bit unclear with respect to the conduct of hydrographic operations which these agencies undertake regularly. Thus, there exists the potential to duplicate efforts, which leads to wastage of both human and financial resources. A major challenge for these agencies is determining where best to apply their efforts, both in terms of the relative importance of interconnected hydrographic issues and the potential effectiveness of processes and practices that can strengthen interagency coordination. Another challenge that potentially arises is unhealthy rivalry among maritime stakeholders which is due to overlapping and intersecting functions which breeds unnecessary competition. The inability to address these issues in a linked way among these agencies and with the private sector has resulted in significant unintended consequences, duplicative effort (as earlier mentioned), and high economic, environmental, and social costs.

29. The NN and by extension the NNHO is also affected by these interagency overlapping roles and responsibilities. The NNHO derives its functions from the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 and Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of the Nation, which vested the responsibility of charting and coordination of all national hydrographic survey in Nigeria to the NN. In spite of this, there still exist several bureaucratic bottlenecks which hamper effective cooperation between the NNHO and other agencies, especially as it relates to the coordination of national hydrographic surveys. . This is largely attributed to deficient legislation, which, although allows the NN to coordinate national survey activities, but did not explicitly mandate other agencies to partner with the NN during the conduct of any of their routine national hydrographic activities. This makes it difficult for the NN to effectively perform this coordinating function, as most agencies assume that they are not obliged to do so, more so when they have constitutional mandate to decide what to do with data they acquire within their maritime area of jurisdiction. This has and will continue to slow down indigenous hydrographic and nautical chart coverage of Nigeria’s waters. There is therefore the need for more improved data sharing among government agencies with hydrographic-related functions in Nigeria.


30. Public hydrographic forums, including workshops, seminars and capacity building trainings, provide a very useful opportunity for promoting synergy between stakeholders in the hydrographic sector. Most hydrographic related matters that arise are often times interconnected to each other and the various agencies and indeed private sector players experience these issues albeit at varying degrees. Joint conduct and participation in forums and seminars by the stakeholders provide a crucial platform for learning and sharing of experiences that could be valuabe in solving these interrelated problems. However, this has been lacking as most hydrographic agencies conduct trainings and organizes seminars and workshops on parallel lines. This often times prevents the sharing of information, technology and methodologies between agencies which could assist in addressing problems and improving standard.

31. The NNHO organizes sensitization workshops and seminars on diverse range of hydrography related matters including MSI and hydrographic best practices regularly but the attendance by other stakeholders is often times poor. It is imperative to note that leveraging on various private and government agencies’ hydrographic initiative through joint workshops and symposiums can effectively address the myriad of problems that occur in the industry. The various agencies could bring their considerable knowledge, assets and experiences to bear by engaging in constant dialogues over their agency goals, actions and objectives. This could result in significant multiplication of both government and private sector hydrographic stakeholders’ actions and also help in building healthy interpersonal networks that could facilitate interagency relationships.


32. Inter-organizational collaboration among hydrographic stakeholders provides some important outcomes for the partnered organizations. One of such collaborative efforts is critical hydrographic information sharing and knowledge transfer. Collaboration between these hydrographic agencies not only transfers current knowledge among them but also paves the way for the creation of new knowledge bases and produces synergistic solutions. Each of these stakeholders possesses vast sea experiences and work force that is specialized in different aspects of hydrography. For instance, NNHO possesses practical experiences as the national authority for hydrographic survey and charting activities in Nigeria, while NPA which is in charge of the nation’s ports and habours, conducts frequent surveys of these areas. Effective information and sharing between them in recent time facilitated the production of Nigeria’s first indigenous navigational charts, which placed Nigeria on the map of chart producing nations of the world.

33. There is therefore an urgent need for other agencies like NIWA, NIMASA, NIOMR among others to volunteer navigational information within their area of jurisdiction to the NNHO for improved nautical chart coverage of Nigeria’s waters. Accordingly, effective collaboration could be encouraged between the aforementioned agencies which would pave the way to share resources, transfer knowledge and produce the synergy that is required for the development of hydrography in Nigeria. In achieving the desired outcome, these organizations need to be well embedded and actively involved in the process of collaboration by understanding the national imperatives of indigenously charting our entire maritime space.


34. Several priority areas have been identified as ways of bolstering collaboration and cooperation between hydrographic agencies in both the public and private sectors. These strategies are targeted at mitigating the problems associated with synergizing hydrographic survey capabilities and operations between these relevant stakeholders including the NN. These measures include enactment of a National Hydrographic Law (NHL), and conduct of joint hydrographic trainings/exercises. . These will be discussed accordingly.


35. Enactment of a NHL would overcome the challenge of lack of legislation for coordination of national hydrographic activities. The NHL would provide the legal backing for the establishment of a National Hydrographic Office (NHO) to facilitate the coordination of all the stakeholders responsible for hydrography in Nigeria. The NHO could be headed by a serving professional hydrographer, designated as the Hydrographer of the Nation (HoN), from the NN, while representatives from MOD, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Finance, the NPA, NIWA and NIMASA could form the Board of the NHO.

36. The NHO could encompass liaison desks of other public and private sector hydrographic agencies. These liaison desks could act as interfaces between the various agencies thereby ensuring coordination by building mutual trust and understanding between relevant bodies. This coordination centre could create opportunities for joint trainings, seminars as well as other capacity building and technology transfer efforts. This will ensure that uniform hydrographic procedure that meets IHO standards is maintained in all agencies, thereby facilitating the production of national hydrographic charts and publications to support maritime trade towards enhancing national development in Nigeria. Therefore, there is the need to enact a NHL.


37. Opportunities to better identify and address collaborative efforts between hydrographic agencies and organizations are extensive. One of such opportunities is through the conduct of regular multi-agency training exercises, seminars and forums. As you are all aware, most hydrographic issues are interconnected and impact both public and private sector stakeholders. In order to effectively address these issues, the conduct of joint trainings and technical workshops is necessary as this involves all relevant stakeholders working together. This ensures that they all leverage each other’s considerable knowledge, assets and experience. It also ensures that they engage each other in dialogues over goals and actions, which could result in significant multiplication of governmental actions to the benefit of the nation.

38. There is therefore the need to organize and conduct periodic exercises and capacity building trainings where the various stakeholders in the hydrographic sector can interface. These efforts would potentially result in more effective and efficient outcomes with positive return on investment. For issues that border on hydrographic matters, applying this framework can significantly reduce duplication of effort and therefore potentially result in cost savings, considering the high cost of conducting hydrographic operations. Furthermore, these joint trainings/exercises could reduce unintended consequences in which actions taken to address one stakeholder’s domain without consideration other closely connected stakeholders can result in negative outcomes in these connected domains. Applying this criterion can help focus attention on those issues in which many agencies have overlapping jurisdictions and in which the potential for unintended consequences is high.


39. The conclusion of the First World War in 1918 brought about significant progress in hydrography due to the effort of various coastal nations including the USA, Denmark, UK and France. The individual hydrographic efforts by these countries meant variances in standards and methods employed. However, the global nature of hydrography and nautical chart production necessitated the harmonization of efforts of the various national hydrographic offices. The IHO was established following an international conference of hydrography held in June 1919 in London, with a mandate of promoting international cooperation between hydrographic offices for safety of navigation and other maritime related activities. The designation of the IHO as an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization was instrumental towards ensuring the adherence to standards and best practices by member states including Nigeria. This ultimately streamlined the hydrographic efforts of all member states and the creation of nautical products and related datasets that had both national and international coverage.

40. The early Eighteenth century and prior to Nigeria’s independence saw a total reliance on the UKHO by Nigeria for hydrographic surveys and publication of nautical charts covering Nigerian waters. However, after Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and establishment of government agencies including NN, NPA, NIWA, NIMASA and NIOMR, the total dependence on the UKHO reduced. This was as a result of hydrographic related operations being conducted by the aforementioned agencies as mandated by the Federal Government. Although, the UKHO still produced Nigeria’s charts, the various government agencies began to develop hydrographic capacities. Nigeria formally joined the IHO in May 1976 with the NN designated as the national hydrographic agency as a result of her constitutional mandate. This move by Nigeria in joining the IHO, meant a development of a framework to guide the practice of hydrography in the country. As a result, the various government hydrographic stakeholders commenced the setting up of hydrographic departments that would ultimately contribute to the coordination of national hydrographic related operations for improved maritime activities.

39. Interagency cooperation among the various hydrographic stakeholders in Nigeria has contributed to the development of capacity, standards and industry best practices in Nigeria. The collaboration between the NN and other relevant hydrographic agencies has given rise to productivity in their operational outputs. These outputs range from the regular maintenance dredging and conduct of hydrographic surveys of harbours and port facilities by the NPA to the timely clearance of wrecks and other dangers to navigation by NIMASA. The NN through the NNHD has taken the lead role by conducting hydrographic surveys and subsequent production of IHO approved paper and electronic nautical charts that are now being used for navigation by mariners. The NNHD has also taken the initiative towards contributing to crowd-sourced bathymetric data to IHO projects, through cooperative efforts with private oil/survey companies. All these have been instrumental in placing Nigeria among the on the international hydrography map.

40. As with various other endeavours, several challenges still exist which have impeded the collaborative efforts among maritime stakeholders and thus limited the growth of hydrography in Nigeria. Some of the challenges identified include lack of legislation, lack of joint participation/organization of hydrographic forums and inadequate information and knowledge sharing. These challenges were recognized as impediments to national hydrographic growth. There was thus an urgent need to address these challenges through strategies including the enactment of a national hydrographic law, greater multi-agency coordination and conduct of joint trainings/exercises. It is believed that the adoption of these strategies would positively affect inter-agency cooperation among hydrographic agencies on a national scale as well as promote international cooperation among coastal nations of the world.

Advancements and the Future Outlook of Charting the Nigerian Navigation Channel
Chukwuemeka C. Onyebuchi1, Franklin E. Onyeagoro2 and Peter O. Aimah3
1. Polaris Integrated and Geosolutions Limited,, 2. Federal University of Technology Owerri,, 3. Polaris Integrated and Geosolutions Limited,
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The need for achieving safe waterways for navigation, engineering, exploration, security and other marine operations cannot be overemphasized and should be attained using precise methods and equipment. The Hydrographic process still remains the only systematic means through which spatial information about our marine environment (oceans, seas, rivers etc.) are acquired for charting purposes so as to aid analysis and decision making. In Nigeria today, most marine operations and mostly the Nigerian Navy is dependent on the Hydrographic process for smooth operations required for security, trading, engineering etc. therefore maintaining the integrity of the hydrographic process is of uttermost importance. To maintain the integrity of the hydrographic process used for charting our navigational channels, the progressive evolution of this process shall be assessed: from the earliest methods that directly sounded navigational channels using weighted lead lines and graduated poles to provide water depths to Wire Drag methods used to identify physical features on the marine environment, then to the 1930s when acoustic waves were applied in the Echo Sounder to indirectly ascertain seabed profile, and the use of instruments like Multi Beam Echo Sounders, Magnetometer, Side Scan Sonar, etc. for detailed Bathymetric and Geophysical Survey Projects, and presently to the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and satellites in space to monitor sea level rise. All these methods are all driven by the insatiable need for more advancements and sophistication in providing information about our marine environment. This paper renders a detailed discourse on the progressive advancements of the hydrographic process used in charting of our marine environment. It also provides recommendations on the future outlook of this process so as to preserve the accuracy in charting our Nigerian navigational channel. Keywords: Hydrographic Survey, Navigation, Trends, Recommendation, Bathymetry, Geophysical.


Hydrography as defined by the National Ocean service “is the science that measures and describes the physical features of the navigable portion of the Earth's surface and adjoining coastal areas. Hydrographic Surveyors study these bodies of water to see what the "floor" looks like”, were Hydrographic Survey method is the principal means in which this spatial data is collected and the basis for delineating a navigational channel for various economic benefits in: transportation, trading, security, exploration, engineering etc. Furthermore, Hydrography focuses on the deduction of underwater topography from numerous discrete observations of depth. They are also carried out for the following:

1. Provide basic data for nautical charting

2. Obtaining site detail for alongshore or offshore construction

3. Assessing the condition of port and marina facilities

4. Measuring the quantities in dredging projects and

5. Determination of the extent of siltation and for numerous other reasons. But this paper’s focus is on Nautical Chart making.

All marine bodies (Oceans, Seas, Rivers etc.) covering all countries in the world are consequent on hydrographic survey methods for mapping out navigational channels, and Nigerian waters are also being charted too using best survey methods, as the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO) commenced chart production with the unveiling of Nigeria’s first National Chart at the 2019 World Hydrography Day celebration in Lagos (Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office, n.d.) in a bid to chart all navigable Nigerian waters. Over the years, these survey methods have advanced steadily from direct methods to the dominant indirect methods of our present day. Where these methods have evolved, the need to preserve and enhance accuracy in the survey methods used in charting these navigation channels has remained insatiable. This paper aims at pointing out the advancements made in hydrographic surveying from where we were yesterday, where we are today and the future outlook of hydrographic survey methods used in charting the Nigerian navigational channels. This aim is objectively achieved through:

I. Reviewing the progressive trend of Hydrographic Survey methods

II. Providing recommendations the future outlook, in order to maintain accuracy in the practice of Hydrography in Nigeria


A map/chart is the final product of any survey carried out for any area of interest. It is the visual representation of any specific marine environment in consideration and also the basis for every waterborne operation. Just like a basic survey map/plan, the Nautical Chart presents a graphical spatial relationship of features within any marine environment (oceans, seas, rivers etc.). Information on the Nautical Chart usually includes: areas of varying water depths/tidal information, position of wreck/obstacles (navigational hazards), natural/manmade features, map projection parameters and navigational channels/routes. This information on the nautical chart is represented using signifying colors and symbols according to IHO standards S-4 Regulations and Specifications for IHO International Charts (IHO, 2018). The Act of Parliament 1964 and the Armed Forces Cap Act A20 LFN of Nigeria empowered the Nigerian Navy to chart all Nigerian waters, while the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO) a subsidiary of the Nigerian Navy has been invested with the power to produce/issue Nautical Charts (updates, corrections) about Nigerian waters (Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office n.d.).

The NNHO makes this available on demand either via an electronic web link or through a paper sheet, so that end users can have a proper navigational guide in their marine operations. It is important to note that the confidence of a nautical chart is dependent on the accuracy of the survey method employed.


The constant need for accuracy has remained the driving force in the advancements of the survey methods used in charting navigation channels. As these methods progressed, sophistication of equipment and methodology progressed directly too. These methods are commonly divided into two:

1. Direct Methods

2. Indirect Methods

These methods have been the classification of all past and present survey methods used in charting our marine environment (navigation channels). Conclusively, all hydrographic survey methods have gradually advanced from direct methods which produced incomplete and interpolated information to indirect methods which gave more reliable and comprehensive information on any marine environment of interest.

1. Direct Methods

The earliest use of direct methods for hydrographic survey cannot be traced, as there are no official records to its first use and invention. But it is important to note that because there was little or no information (Nautical Charts) for sailing ships on coastal waters, the United States congress in 1790 began authorizing specific and limited surveys of the coast (NOAA, 2017). The survey methodology involved in Direct Methods includes using of graduated lines, poles, wire and sextant (3-D position fix) to take measurements that determines depth difference and features (wrecks) on the seabed. The earliest charts produced using these methods were comparatively reliable (Ojinnaka, 2007) although not accurate in its totality. This because: the graduated line and pole method, inasmuch as they gave accurate depth readings to the seabed, the method was laborious, time consuming and its area of coverage limited thereby a lot of information on the earliest nautical charts were interpolated. But the invention of the early 1900’s Wire Drag method revolutionized the practice of Hydrographic Survey in that it had a lot of coverage (unlike the graduated pole and lead line method) and the position of wrecks and other navigational hazards could be identified. NOAA associates Nicholas Heck of the Coast Geodetic Survey, a predecessor of the US Coast Survey to its breakthrough (National Ocean Service et al, 2007). The Wire Drag method had the attachment of each edge of a wire net (at a specified depth) to two different vessels (Boat or Ship as seen in Fig 1) and while the vessels moved and encountered an obstruction, it would make a V shape exposing the location and depth of the obstruction (NOAA as cited in Donald and Parnell, 2018). This Wire Drag method as seen in Fig 1 was a major upgrade to the graduated pole and lead line method because a lot of obstacles (wrecks and other navigational hazards) which were missed by the graduated and lead line method could now be identified.

The United States Coast Survey (USCS) depended so much on the Wire Drag method from the early 1900 to the early 1990 (National Ocean Service et al, 2007) with this method likely accounting a certain percentage in the over 11,600 Hydrographic Surveys carried out by the USCS till date (National Ocean Service et al, 2007). In as much as this method revolutionized the practice of hydrographic survey, its area of coverage was limited.

2. Indirect Method

In as much as the Wire Drag method was more reliable than the graduated pole method, in that it provided more details about the seabed, the need for sophistication in equipment and methodology without compromising on accuracy was also needed. This ushered in the dominant use of sonar enabled equipment(s) and remote sensing techniques to indirectly determine depths and position of physical features which hamper navigational.

Sonar Systems

In recent times, the available means of carrying out Hydrographic Survey operation uses Sonar sensors which propagate acoustic waves to carry out underwater measurements. These sensors deployed into the marine environment have the ability to provide seabed profile/depths, positions and images of wrecks and obstacles, in the water body etc. plus they can thrive in both fresh and salt water environment. Single/Multi Beam Echo Sounders, Side Scan Sonars etc. are common instruments employed in this indirect method. The two basic surveys applied in charting navigation channels include; Bathymetric Survey and Physical feature Identification Surveys.

i. Bathymetric Survey: Position Fixing and Sounding are the basic features of Bathymetry so as to determine depth variants and the topography of the seafloor from which navigable water channels can be delineated accurately based on bathymetric survey carried out on the marine environment. Echo Sounders are the basic equipment used for sounding to determine depth variants. The Titanic disaster of 1913 was the driving force that led German Physicist Alexander Behm, who in his bid to determine how to detect iceberg, discovered the use of sound pulses to determine depths from the surface to the bottom of the sea (Sana, 2013). But the development and implementation of the Echo Sounder as an equipment can be traced to the 1930’s when single beam sound waves were sent out from a transducer directly below a vessel (NOAA, 2017). Nowadays, the Echo Sounder has become a mainstay in Bathymetry, although Multi Beam Echo Sounders (MBES) are much more preferably used as they send out a spread of sound waves in one single ping as seen in Fig2 with a 100% coverage, unlike the single beam which sends out only one line of sound wave at one ping and leaving various unsounded gaps.

Information about Nigerian water(s) are also being determined using bathymetric surveys, with the existence of various literatures/projects giving credence to that fact. The uniqueness of these existing literatures and projects is the similarity in Equipment, Data Acquisition and Data Processing: (Tata et al, 2019) carried out a Bathymetric Survey on a part of Lagos Lagoon: Data was acquired using an Echo Sounder, Absolute Positioning (Handheld GPS), Moving Vessel (Boat), Transducer, PowerNav for navigation etc. while Hypack, ArcGIS. AutoCAD, Surfer etc. were used for data processing and charting. Also (Badejo and Adewuyi, 2019) carried out a Bathymetric Survey on some parts of Badagry Creek and Yewa River in Lagos State Nigeria: Data was acquired using an Echo Sounder, RTK-GPS (Differential Positioning), while Hypack, ArcGIS were used for mapping/charting,

The AKK (Ajaokuta Kaduna Kano) is a gas pipeline project managed by NNPC. The proposed gas pipeline route traverses from Ajaokuta in Kogi State, through Niger/Kaduna State and terminates at Kano State. With some water bodies like Chiromawa, Hadejija, Shika, Garnin Jatau, Sarkin Pawa etc. among others found within the over 500km proposed gas pipeline route. The scope of work specified a bathymetric survey using a single beam Echo Sounder, Survey vessel, DGPS system interfaced to a notebook navigation and data logging system, so as to determine the relationship between water levels and ground levels, for the production of a profile map of the Gas Pipeline route. (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, 2019). Fig 3 shows the result of the Bathymetric Survey of Shika River as seen in the Hypack environment which was the navigation and data logging system used during the execution of AKK survey works in 2020, as specified for the project. It is also significant to note that as Bathymetric survey is important in projects carried out in high elevation Northern Nigeria, so it is of highest important to various individuals and companies who carry out various bathymetric activities in our coastal areas for purposes ranging from research to financial profits: Just as (Tata et al, 2019) cited above carried out a Bathymetric Survey on the Lagos lagoon, (Chukwu and Badejo, 2015) carried out the same bathymetric survey on the same Lagos lagoon with a different purpose to study seabed topography change over a six year period from 2008-2013: results from the research showed sediment changes in the six year period, while the research recommended more studies on the Lagos lagoon as it affects marine transport.

ii Physical Feature Identification Survey: In accessing the progressive evolution of the hydrographic methods used in mapping seafloors, the 1950’s to 1970’s saw the offering of Side Scan Sonars and Multi Beam Swathe systems in providing a qualitative means of mapping our seafloors and identifying positions of wrecks and features (NOAA, 2017). This on its own solved the problem of incomplete depth determination as encountered in the Single Beam Echo Sounder (SBES) and the limitations in identifying physical features as encountered in the Wire Drag method. These days, in the execution of various marine projects applied in engineering, navigation, research, offshore survey inspections etc., full spread Bathymetric and Geophysical surveys are recommended, as such combination provide a better understanding on the interest marine environment. Geophysical Survey is not basically hydrographic survey, and it is totally different in its entirety, but its principles and equipment(s) have applications in most underwater projects including mapping of navigable waters. The scope of works and equipment(s) involved in Geophysical Survey for charting navigational channels include but are not limited to the following:

a. Bathymetric Survey: To determine variation in water depths, so as to understand the seabed topography. This is achieved by using an Echo Sounder, preferably a Multi Beam Echo Sounder.

b. Determination of geo-hazards: especially ferrous materials underneath the seafloor, this is done using a magnetometer which has the ability to identify any magnetic field (metallic objects) around the marine environment of interest.

c. Identification of debris and wreckages on the seabed: This is achieved using a Side Scan Sonar (SSS) which provides a recorded video/pictorial imagery of inherent positions of debris and wreckages found on the marine environment of interest.

d. Navigation and Positioning using mainly GNSS Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS).

e. Survey Vessel as a moving platform which carries all the sensors

f. Data processing using software(s) like Hypack, AutoCAD, Surfer etc. Inasmuch as Geophysical Survey equipment(s) are expensive, it still remains the most accessible means of Hydrographic Survey available for charting all navigable waters in Nigeria, as it gives more detailed information on the seabed, as seen in (Egbuh, 2006) who carried out a hydrographic survey in the Lagos Port area for purposes of safe navigation: the equipment deployed for data acquisition included Echo Sounder, Magnetometer, Side Scan Sonar etc. Data was processed using AutoCAD, Hypack, HydroCAD, SurvCAD, GPS Path Finder office, with results showing depth variants from 1.1m to 24m and a total of One hundred and nine (109) wreckages in the entire survey area. The high numbers of wreckages simply shows the significance of detailed bathymetric and geophysical survey in delineating navigational channels. As the results from this survey shows a great number of hazards inherent to safe navigation. Now with this methodology and equipment(s), recommendations could be made for routine dredging of navigational channels, so as to maintain ease in vessel navigation. Fig 3 and Fig 4 below shows some equipment(s) employed in identifying Physical features which could impede safe navigation.

Remote Sensing Techniques

As the quest for improved precision in data acquisition for hydrographic survey has continued, there has been rapid development of modern technologies in remote sensing methods. Some of these new techniques which have been applied in bathymetric data collection have been described as “non-traditional” (Leder et al, 2020). They include; Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) platforms and Satellite Derived Bathymetry (SDB)

i. Unmanned Underwater Vehicles: UUVs are products of robotic engineering applied in modern day hydrographic survey, either in Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROV) which requires tethered connecting cables and a human operator for functionality or an Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV)whose operations are automated. The commercial introduction of ROVs could be traced to the 1970’s (Leder et al. 2018) which was a solution to Hydrographic survey in areas inaccessible to survey vessels to deploy sonar systems like the MBES, SSS etc. as described earlier. Currently, hydrographic uses for ROV include object identification (such as navigational hazards), vessel hull inspections and least depth determination (Leder et al 2018) with lighting and sonar cameras which carry out these tasks, thereby providing real time video and pictorial imageries of the interest marine environment.

ii. LiDAR Platforms: Several researches have stated that investigations have been carried out on the derivation of bathymetric data from satellite since the 1970s (Mavraeidopoulos et al, 2017; Jegat et al, 2016). However with the advancements in satellite technology, more work has been carried out on these techniques. An importance of bathymetric surveys in nautical navigation of shallow water is to avoid stranding (Sagawa et al. 2019). The traditional techniques such as the sonar systems as earlier described can at an instant measure a width equal to twice the depth of water. However, a shortcoming of this technique is that it cannot measure shallow waters effectively (Smith and Sandwell, 2004). The Lidar platforms have been adopted in hydrographic surveying of recent as can be seen in literatures such as (Sagawa et al, 2019; Irish and Lillycrop, 1999; Leder et al, 2020). (Humboldt State university, 2016) highlights that there are three types of Lidar platforms:

(i) Ground based

(ii) Aerial platform such as the Aerial laser scanning (ALS) and Drone Laser Scanning (DLS) and

(iii) Satellite based platforms.

However, (Leatherman, 2003) classifies LiDAR based on two purposes, either Topographic or Bathymetric: were the Topographic LiDAR uses near-infrared beam to map land surfaces, the Bathymetric LiDAR uses infrared and green laser beam. Bathymetric LiDAR is employed in hydrographic survey to capture geospatial data of the coastline and shallow waters (Leder et al., 2020). A major plus to Bathymetric Lidar is that they are used in areas that are inaccessible to survey vessels (Zhang et al., 2019). A limitation in the use of ALB is that the target area must be in a flight capable area. Another limitation is the extremely high cost of ALB (Sagawa et al., 2019). This means that there will be insufficient data for areas that the survey vessels cannot access or that the airplanes cannot operate.

Satellite Derived Bathymetry

Satellite Derived Bathymetry (SDB) is defined as the determination of depth information by analyzing satellite images (Sagawa et al, 2019). This is one of the currently used state-of-the –art technologies in the estimation of depth using remote sensing techniques by employing multispectral or hyper-spectral sensors (Sagawa et al, 2019). Currently, SDB data has potential to become one of the main low cost sources of spatial data especially in hydrographic surveying (Leder et al, 2020). Further reads on SDB can be found in (Sagawa et al, 2019; Lyzenga et al, 2006; Kao et al, 2009; Manessa et al., 2016; Mavraeidopoulos et al., 2017; Leder et al., 2020; Gao, 2009; Pe’eri et al., 2013).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Artificial Intelligence is an upcoming advancement in Hydrographic, as there are no dominant records of its use in Hydrographic survey. Artificial Intelligence involves embedding human capacities of logic, understanding, perception, reasoning, creativity etc. into a machine so that it can apply such capacities to any phenomenon of interest. AI has been employed in almost every sector of technology, and Hydrography is not a back bencher to this present advancement, as the Esri GeoAI has employed machine learning and deep learning tools in ArcGIS to create point feature class containing shipwreck point and also provide charts of marine environment (Snow et al.2020).


To achieve this paper’s aim of preserving the precision for mapping the Nigerian navigational channels, the progressive trend in hydrographic survey had to be reviewed from direct to indirect methods, ushering in more sophisticated equipment(s) for a precise and detailed depth determination and mapping of physical features. The following are some recommendations that if implemented could redefine the practice of hydrography in Nigeria with accuracy being the driving force.

1. Involvement of Key Players: Inasmuch as the Nigerian Navy is empowered to chart all Nigerian waters and delineate navigable waters, the seamlessness of achieving this is not feasible if all hydrography professionals are not involved. This includes call for all research works on all Nigerian waters and projects carried out by individuals and companies in the past, assessing their results with proper quality checks and compiling them, using it as base information for navigation and mapping of uncharted Nigerian waters.

2. Satellite Systems: Satellite systems seem to be the present and future of science and technology. More exploration and utilization of the technologies in satellite systems could be focused in remotely charting Nigerian Waters for the delineation of navigational channels. This might be expensive, considering the cost of building and launching a satellite, but the Nigerian Navy could latch on to the already existing satellites in space which could also be used to provide Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) corrections and provide real time information on Nigerian navigation channels to vessels who have been granted permission to the frequency. This on its own is economically beneficial and guarantees security of our water ways for various offshore projects in trading, security, transportation, Oil and Gas etc.

3. Exploring Advancements in AI and Programming: There is a saying that mapping the moon’s surface is easier than mapping the water bodies. This implores the Nigerian Navy to explore advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Programming as a means to map Nigerian waters for efficient delineation navigable channels.

4. Quality Control: The need for a Quality Control team which regulates hydro survey is important. A team that ensures that all standards for the practice of Hydrographic survey are followed, and also keeps a compilation of charts on Nigerian waters so as to maintain uniformity in practice.

5. Training: Because Hydrographic Survey is not as common as the regular onshore surveys, there are very few skilled in this practice. This stresses the need for adequate training or an improvement of the existing curriculum in Nigerian military academies, universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, so as to equip individuals with hands-on practical knowledge in the practice of accurate Hydrographic survey. For the preservation of accuracy in the practice of hydrographic Survey in Nigeria is determinate on the proper framework laid for the future generation.


The understanding of the progressive trend was crucial to recommending of the future outlook of charting the Nigerian navigational channels. This progressive trend has graduated steadily from the direct methods to the dominant indirect methods. But it is noteworthy to say that all succeeding methods were solutions to the limitations of the previous methods which were driven by the need for better accuracy and sophistication. Inasmuch as this paper has tried to proffer some recommendation, the future still seems unpredictable as it is probable that better methods and equipment(s) are expected to redefine the limitations of the present day dominant methods.


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By Chiemelie Ezeobi of CityStrings
Pineapple Aerial view of NNS Lana

Pineapple L-R: Hydrographer of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Emeka Okafor; FOC WEST, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa; CNS, Vice Admiral Gambo; and representative of MD NPA
Pineapple L-R: Commanding Officer NNS LANA, Captain Abdullateef Mahmud; Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; and Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbass

Any force is only as good as its military equipment and for the Nigerian Navy (NN), its platforms. This is because in protecting the domestic and even external territorial integrity, aggressive fleet recapitalisation strategy must be enabled. Firm believers of this ideology, the NN recently boosted its fleet by taking delivery of its first ever purpose-built Offshore Survey Vessel, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) LANA, from Saint Nazaire, France. However, beyond its role in the recapitalisation process, the new vessel is unique in the sense that it will boost hydrographic survey in the nation's maritime domain. After its launch in France, the vessel began its journey home and was received at the jetty of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT last month, just in time before the now cancelled NN anniversary week

Maritime Illegalities

Although 70 per cent of Nigeria's economic growth lies on the waterways, the maritime domain is often fraught with the challenges of maritime illegalities ranging from piracy, sea robbery, smuggling, illegal fishing to brazen crude oil theft, proliferation of illegal refinery, destruction of critical infrastructure for oil and gas, reckless violent crimes such as kidnapping, hijack and attack on security forces and many more others. To tackle this, the Nigerian Navy has had to patrol the endless miles of waterways despite some major challenges like shortage of Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), budget constraints, inadequate local ship building capacity for constructing naval vessels and inadequate surveillance. The challenge is even pronounced given that the navy not just protects Nigeria's territorial integrity but also contributes its quota at the regional level, by patrolling the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, which is a vast expanse of water stretching almost 6,000km from Senegal to Angola. But today, some of these challenges are gradually becoming a thing of the past especially when it comes to fleet acquisition, surveillance and ship building capacity.

Role of Hydrography

world’s trade is conducted by the sea, and this is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move large quantity of goods and raw materials around the world. Thus, it would be safe to say that world economies have been hugely dependent on various maritime activities. Daily, about 180,000 vessels take to sea, 30 million tons of goods are ferried across the world; ports are built, coastal infrastructure are developed, coasts are defended, marine environmental plans are implemented. Also, cables carrying data run the length and breadth of the earth, enabling more than 3.7 billion humans use the internet daily. One of the unseen forces that makes these possible is a hydrographer. Without the services of hydrographers, who provide charts and other nautical publications, voyages through the sea would have become a nightmare to captains of ships, who need to move goods and services from one part of the world to the order in a safe and economical way. Over the years, the Nigerian Navy, in line with her constitutional roles, has been building both human and material capacities to enable her provide hydrographic services that meets international standard. These efforts have paid off. In recent times, Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO) ramped up its hydrographic capabilities with several first-of-its-kind products to support Nigeria’s Blue Economy project. This was seen during the last World Hydrography Day (WHD) when the NNHO published the first indigenous navigational chart ever produced by Nigeria; NG 2501 (Lagos Harbour Chart) with much fanfare. According to the Hydrographer of the Navy during the last WHD, Rear Admiral Emeka Okafor, "this feat completed Nigeria’s hydrographic capacity development as required by the IHO". Essentially, with the induction of the state-ofthe art offshore survey vessel, with autonomous capabilities, this has ensured that the navy will be fully poised to provide up-to-date marine geo-spatial information of Nigerian waters to diverse maritime operators, for enhanced economic growth of Nigeria. According to the Director of Naval Information (DINFO), Commodore Suleman Dahun, it is envisaged that the rebirth of NNS LANA would afford the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Department the leverage to successfully and systematically conduct hydrographic surveys and charting of Nigeria’s waters. He said: "It would also afford Nigeria with the opportunity of keying into the General Bathymetric Charts of the Oceans (GEBCO) Seabed 2030 project and the Global Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) synthesis project which would ultimately facilitate Nigeria’s accomplishment of its obligation under SOLAS Convention in accordance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s deliberate and sustained policies on maritime safety and security."

Pineapple Cross section of senior officers with the CNS

Fleet Recapitalisation

Asides its hydrographic role, the vessel is a boost to the fleet recapitalisation effort of the navy. It is pertinent to state that the foremost desire of every littoral state is to have a fleet with the right mix of platforms to meet its operational objectives in patrolling the vast littoral space. So for the NN, seeking to overwhelm the criminals in their game, the requirement for enormous capacity upgrade has led to massive fleet recapitalisation, generous logistic support, retooled maintenance facilities and equipment restock, processes recalibration, and manpower boost in quality and quantity.


The new vessel was conceived as a replacement to the previous NNS LANA, a survey ship that was decommissioned about 10 years ago. Notably, the construction of the Offshore Survey Vessel 190 MKII (NNS LANA) commenced in December 2019 and the project was divided into four major milestones which were: the completion of the deck molds, completion of hull blocks, hull assembly on the main deck and the delivery and installation of the main engines at the shipyard. According to the Director of Information (DINFO), Commodore Suleman Dahun, these milestones were the benchmarks which determined the level of work achieved at each stage of the project. The building process was successfully completed and the ship was launched on September 24, 2020 at Les Sables d'Olonne, France.


In preparation for its onward journey home, NNS LANA was handed over to the Nigerian Navy in France on January 15, 2021 after the provisional acceptance trials was concluded. The crew training however commenced on January 2021 and ended on April 12, 2021. They also signed contract for another 35 metre Offshore Survey Vessel with OCEA.

Flag Transfer

In taking delivery of the ship, a Flag Transfer Ceremony was held in France. This represents the transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability of a vessel from one flag state to another. Speaking at the Flag Transfer Ceremony, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), represented by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo stated that the new vessel was conceived as a replacement to the previous NNS LANA, a survey ship that was decommissioned about 10 years ago. The minister, who was the special guest of honour at the event, added that the occasion marked a great milestone in the fulfilment of the dream of not only replacing but, enhancing Nigerian Navy’s survey capability. Importantly, the new vessel is expected to fill the void created following the decommissioning of the previous NNS LANA. Highlighting the import of having a survey vessel like NNS LANA, he said that survey services and charting waterways play a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation as well as delivery of maritime security. Hence, NNS LANA will not only enhance the safety of Nigeria’s maritime environment but the ship will serve as a critical component in the projection of naval power for enhanced maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. Buhari for his commitment towards the recapitalisation of the NN Fleet, he also added that the ship will play a critical role in protection of maritime resources and preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to promotion of global maritime commerce.

Pineapple NNS LANA at NNS BEECROFT jetty in Apapa, Lagos

Port Calls

After the inauguration, the NN's newest Offshore Survey Vessel (NNS LANA) began her homeward journey to Nigeria. The voyage included port visits to Lisbon, Las Palmas, Banjul and Tema-Ghana before it arrived Nigeria on May 17, 2021.


At its arrival, the navy received the vessel at NNS BEECROFT Jetty and the parade ground respectively. At the reception, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, who was the guest of honour, was elated at the capacity of the vessel. After the arrival of the vessel at the jetty, part of the activities were the report of sea proceedings, tour of the ship by dignitaries led by the CNS and group photograph.

Revenue Generator

For the navy, aside the boost to hydrographic survey, the newly acquired hydrographic vessel, would be a revenue generator. According to the CNS, the vessel would also be deployed in Nigeria waters and anywhere her services are required inorder to boost hydrographic efforts within the Nigerian maritime space. He said: "Where we get patronage from the Gulf of Guinea and other parties as may be, we will render services at a cost. So, she is a revenue generation asset for the country and the Nigeria Navy and other maritime agencies. It's revenue generating in the sense that the Nigerian Hydrographer had been given approval to produce navigation charts for the country and the countries in West and Central Africa. Therefore, people such as maritime stakeholders will now have to pay for such charts inorder to procure them for their safe navigation."

Capacity for Hydrographic Survey

NNS LANA (A499) was designed and purposely built to enable the NN conduct hydrographic and oceanographic surveys. It is also capable of conducting geophysical studies, search and rescue operations as well as patrol duties. According to the CNS, "the induction of NNS LANA will enhance the capacity of the service to conduct hydrographic survey and provide charting service for safe navigation as well as delivery for maritime security." Noting that the vessel would soon join other NN ships at seas to contribute to the navy's efforts in the defence of the nation's maritime environment, he added that the federal government has embraced the blue economy initiative inline with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal-14 agenda. He said: "The agenda entails the sustainable exploration and exploitation of vast resources in the nation's maritime environment. The provision of quality hydrographic services is key to the development of the various sectors of the blue economy. Therefore, the acquisition of this survey vessel is an affirmation of the federal government of Nigeria's commitment towards the nation's economic development." Gambo further noted that the navy would collaborate with other maritime stakeholders to actualise the country's vision of developing a sustainable economy that would contribute to the nation's socio-economic prosperity.


While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for the enormous support to the navy's recapitalisation effort, the CNS also pledged that routine maintenance on the vessel would be sacrosanct. "She is a specialised and sophisticated vessel, therefore we have consciously procured both consumables and other spare parts that would last the next two to three years while she is in service. Also, the usual dockyard maintenance routine will also be observed just like other vessels are also observed in the course of her service," he added.

Asset to Naval Fleet

Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa noted that the new acquisition was an asset to the naval fleet as reliable hydrographic data and information from the NN would further guide maritime activities He said: "Putting it in context, NN’s capacity to conduct hydrographic survey that would assure safety of naval and merchant traffic over the sea was significantly impaired with the absence of a hydrographic ship in NN fleet. With NNS LANA joining the fleet, going forward,the maritime industry can be assured of getting improved and reliable hydrographic data and information from the NN to guide maritime activities." According to the FOC, in seafaring, safety is key and can mean life. “All the potentials and prospects man stands to benefit from the sea and by traversing it amounts to nothing without safety. Anything that will keep one away from danger in an unfriendly environment such as the sea is welcome. Therefore, NNS LANA is one such asset hence our joy at receiving the ship", he added. Commending the leadership of the CNS, he said it reflects in his vision to re-energise the NN and motivate its personnel, adding that the command " is grateful for this rare privilege to receive the brand new NNS LANA. I have no doubt that the ship will contribute to safety in the maritime industry as well as to Nigeria’s national security".

CO's Report

Also speaking, Commanding Officer (CO) NNS LANA, Captain Abdullateef Mahmud, who gave report of the sea proceedings said the ship spent 30 days at sea from France to her voyage to Lagos, Nigeria, amassing 440 hours at sea. He said: “Based on the average speed of 10 knots, the ship covered a total distance of 4,005 nautical miles and approximately spent 30 days on the voyage. The ship stopped over at four countries which were Portugal, Spain, Gambia and Ghana. The ship performed satisfactorily well during the voyage except for one oil operation unit that developed a problem which was rectified in Portugal."


NNS LANA (A499) is designed and purposely built to enable the NN conduct hydrographic and oceanographic surveys. It is also capable of conducting geophysical studies, search and rescue operations as well as patrol duties. The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art modern survey equipment as well as a wellequipped 7.6m surface vehicle for shallow water surveys. Furthermore, the ship has an Automatic Weather Station (AWS), wet and dry laboratories, scientific and technical workshops as well as operating and processing rooms for survey data. The machineries include 2 x MTU engines, 3 x CAT main generators/one emergency generator, electric propulsion system and other auxiliaries. The electric propulsion which is operated at survey speed is particularly installed to minimise distortion of data due to machinery noise. The ship has a maximum speed of 14 knots and a capacity of 50 crew. It would also afford Nigeria with the opportunity of keying into the General Bathymetric Charts of the Oceans (GEBCO) Seabed 2030 project and the Global Multi-Resolution Topography (GMRT) synthesis project which would ultimately facilitate Nigeria’s accomplishment of its obligation under SOLAS Convention in accordance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s deliberate and sustained policies on maritime safety and security. Essentially, it is envisaged that the rebirth of NNS LANA would afford the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Department the leverage to successfully and systematically conduct hydrographic surveys and charting of Nigeria’s waters.

By Cdre Sunday Daniel Atakpa

My attention was recently drawn to a statement credited to the Minister of State for Environment, Barr Sharon Ikeazor, and published in the Leadership Newspaper of 17 Sep 20, p.14, captioned “Nigeria Lacks Marine Protected Areas Despite 11,600 sqkm Coastline – Minister”. It was further reported that the Minister observed that the absence of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) prompted the Federal Ministry of Environment (FME) to initiate plans for a National Mangrove Restoration project to assist in the control of coastal erosion, restoration of polluted areas and protecting marine animals.

The assertion/lamentation of the Minister is correct and well- founded. What is, however, incorrect in the Minister’s declaration is the allusion to Nigeria having a coastline of 11,600 sqkm. This is incorrect on 2 grounds. First, Nigeria has a coastline of about 852km and a maritime space of about 315,240sqkm seaward of the baseline. This represents about 34.1 per cent of Nigeria’s landmass of 923,768sqkm. It could also be rightly said that Nigeria’s maritime space is about one-third of Nigeria’s landmass, or Nigeria’s landmass is about 3 times the size of its maritime space. All the 3 representations of Nigeria’s landmass-maritime space figures would be factually correct. Secondly, the unit for the measurement of maritime spaces is nautical mile (nm), while the unit for the measurement of land spaces is the kilometre (km). A coastline, as the name suggests, represents the length of the coast in the form of a line. Although referring to a maritime stretch, the km is often adopted against the nm because of the land-sea interface along the coast. However, the unit “sqkm” is a product of length and breadth signifying the area of bounded spaces, and not a line measurement, as in the case of a coastline.

The fact of the non-existence of MPAs in Nigeria’s maritime domain became evident to me whilst preparing to participate in the First Global Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018, under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This discovery was made during the rapid study of the British Admiralty chart folios covering Nigeria’s maritime domain to identify and classify Nigeria’s MPAs in support of the blue economy ideals, preparatory to the conference. Further consultation with experts in the FME and the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) validated the observation that there is no MPA or conservation grounds similar to charted Spoil Areas or Foul Grounds in Nigeria’s jurisdictional maritime zones of Internal Waters (IW), Territorial Waters (TW), Contiguous Zone (CZ) and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Thus, the Minister’s claim is correct on this note.

Comparatively, the MPA is to the hydrosphere what the Games Reserve Park (GRP)/Nature Conservation Area (NCA) is to the lithosphere. They are, by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Charting Regulations, to be designated and clearly marked on large scale charts covering the locus of the MPA. This is because an MPA is no different from any other space on the open sea, unless it is surveyed, and properly charted for mariners, particularly fishermen/trawlers, to stay off the charted area in order for the flora and faunas in that protected ecosystem to gestate for greater yield, enhanced sustainability and averting possible species extinction. Below is a sample of MPA designation on a nautical chart.

Sample of MPA on Nautical Chart

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an MPA is “a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”. Ecosystem services refers to the 4 broad categories of benefits humans derive from natural environment and healthy ecosystems namely provisioning, such as food and water; regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and oxygen; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits.

The UN Database on Protected Areas, which records MPAs submitted by countries, estimates that more than 17,000 MPAs protect more than 25million sqkm of ocean. This implies that nearly 7.5 per cent of the ocean, an area the size of North America, is being protected. However, the Marine Conservation Institute, in its Atlas of Marine Protection, provided a conservative 2.6 per cent of the ocean as being managed in true MPAs. Another important fact about the MPA is that, MPA is one of the ecological conservation tools known as Area Based Management Tools (ABMTs) adopted for ocean sustainability. Different international maritime and maritime-related organizations employ the ABMT to administer different parts of the ocean as follows: Areas of Particular Environmental Interest (APEIs) adopted by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) deep-sea mining, Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for global shipping routes, and Marine Migratory Species Network (MMSN) adopted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS). Others are Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) adopted by UNEP for the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (MVMEs) adopted by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), and World Heritage Sites adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).It is instructive to note that of all the ABMTs, only the MPA apply to jurisdictional maritime spaces spanning from internal waters to the EEZ.

The establishment of MPAs is one of the essential hallmarks of the existence of the blue economy in any given national maritime domain. The other essentials are the establishment of ocean sustainability strategies, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and credible Maritime Security (MS) within designated maritime domains. It is in recognition of the centrality of MPAs to the sustainable development of the oceans, that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (UNSDG 14) tagged “Life Below Water”, established Targets 14.2 and 14.5, mandating the protection and conservation of at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas by 2020. Relatedly, the IUCN, which is an international conservation authority, recommended the protection of at least 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030. Thus, both SDG 14, which is a blue economy SDG, as well as the IUCN validate the establishment of MPAs as credible ocean conservation strategy.

Nigeria is a signatory to the UNSDG, and is expected to establish MPAs under signatory-treaty obligations. Meanwhile, some of the African signatories to the UNSDG have since established their MPAs. For instance, Seychelles, with a coastline of 491km and EEZ of about 1.37 million sqkm, has emplaced over 40,000 sqkm MPA. This is considered to be an area larger than Germany or twice the size of Great Britain, and represent 30 per cent coverage of Seychelles maritime domain. Similarly, South Africa, with a coastline of about 3,900km and EEZ of about 1.5 million sqkm, has established 42 MPAs representing 5 per cent of its maritime domain. Also, Kenya, with a coastline of about 536km and 142,000sqkm EEZ, has established 14 MPAs, 4 of which are fully/highly protected, while 10 are less protected/unknown. However, Nigeria with about 852km coastline and 170, 600 sqkm EEZ, does to have an MPA, in contravention of its UNSDG treaty obligations. Worthy of note is the fact that these 3 countries have adopted the blue economy as a national sustainable development strategy. Thus, it may be fitting to deduce that the non- existence of MPAs in Nigeria’s vast maritime domain is an indicator of the non-adoption/implementation/existence of a blue economy in the country.

The lack of knowledge and awareness of the potential economic value of existing marine resources within the maritime domain, referred to as maritime wealth blindness and prevalent in most developing African countries such as Nigeria, is largely responsible for the absence of MPAs in the country’s maritime space. This is because deep sea research, which is extremely expensive and requires advanced technology, is required to create maritime wealth awareness through purposeful Research and innovation. This has been the bane of NIOMR researches over the years. Hence, NIOMR has not been able to appropriately produce Nigeria’s species composition and spread within the nation’s maritime domain. It has also not been able to provide data on economically important ecosystems such as seamounts, hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and cold-water corals which are rare and vulnerable, but rich in deep sea minerals and Marine Genetic Resources (MGR). The MGRs have great utility value in both existing and upcoming biotechnology applications in the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries.

To establish MPAs in Nigeria’s maritime space, all the relevant stakeholders comprising the NIOMR, Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF), FME, Nigerian Navy (NN), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and coastal communities, amongst others, have to be involved. Additional to its statutory functions, NIOMR would have to identify, through sustained research, the relevant ecosystems requiring conservation, while the FDF would have to determine the economic aquatic constituents of the ecosystem. Similarly, the FME would have to access environmental impacts that the non-conservation of such spaces would have on the nation, thereby providing justification(s) for its protection, while NIMASA would be expected to monitor pollution within the MPA. Furthermore, the NN would be expected to survey, chart, provide security and enforce conservation compliance, just as the NPA would be expected to notify shippers of declared MPAs within the port areas, if any. Lastly, the coastal communities would have to be brought on board to provide support through their buy-in on declared MPAs and the provision of local intelligence. There is a cultural dimension to the establishment of MPAs, and this often reside with the coastal communities.

In a blue economy, the Marine Spatial Planning Authority (MSPA), designated through government policy and credible legislation, coordinates all the aforementioned activities aimed at establishing a functional MPA within jurisdictional maritime spaces. However, there is presently no designated MSPA in Nigeria, hence the frequent and unwarranted tussle between different Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to exercise ultra vires control within the nation’s maritime space. Nigeria is yet to establish a blue economy through appropriate policy formulation and accompanying legislative enactment. This, in part, could be responsible for the absence of MPAs in the nation’s maritime domain.



History was made today in Les Sables d'Olonne France with the launching of the first ever purpose built hydrographic survey vessel by the Nigerian Navy. Speaking at the ceremony at the OCEA shipyard, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, represented by Rear Admiral Abraham Adaji informed that the new vessel was conceived as a replacement for the Nigerian Navy survey vessel, NNS LANA which was decommissioned about 10 years ago.


According to the CNS, the launching ceremony was a great significance as it marked a giant stride in the efforts towards actualizing the dreams of not only restoring but enhancing Nigerian Navy's survey capability. He also emphasized that surveying and charting play a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation as well as delivery of maritime security, hence, the new vessel will not only enhance the safety of Nigeria's maritime environment but also serve as a critical component of deployment of naval power for enhanced maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. While stating that the vessel will also play a critical role in protection of maritime resources and preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to the promotion of global maritime commerce, the CNS specially thanked the President, Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the recapitalization of the Nigerian Navy Fleet. Earlier, Mr Fabrice Weinbach representing Mr Roland loassard, the CEO of OCEA, said the "LANA" was the result of the excellent cooperation between the Nigerian Navy and OCEA teams and also thanked the Nigerian Embassy staff and the Nigerian Building survey team for their commitment and professionalism. He also remarked that the new ship demonstrates the willingness of Nigeria to improve the knowledge of the country's waters with a sea proven platform and up-to-date equipment. He also added that the OCEA and Nigerian Navy relations will be strengthened through the supply of integrated logistic support services, including training, to maintain the operational readiness of the crew, the ship "LANA" and her equipment and systems, and the on-site technical assistance.

Also speaking at the occasion, Nigeria's Ambassador to France, Mrs Modupe Enitan Irele highlighted the significance of the ceremony as a manifestation of good Nigeria - French relations. Construction of the new vessel started in 2018 and the vessel is scheduled to join the NN fleet in 2021.

In view of the importance of this information, you are please requested to disseminate for general public awareness.

By Victor Ventura -associate of the Brazilian Institute for the Law of the Sea(BILOS)


The ‘Blue Economy’ is a concept that fosters better and more rational use of the world’s oceans or ‘blue’ resources. It emphasizes the close linkages between the ocean, climate change, and the well-being of the people of a given region or country. At its heart, it supports all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG14 ‘life below water’, and recognizes that this will require ambitious, and coordinated actions to sustainably manage, protect and preserve our ocean now, for the sake of present and future generations. With that in mind, the latest interviewee of the Brazilian Institute for the Law of the Sea (BILOS), Commodore Daniel Atakpa, a senior officer of the Nigerian Navy, and expert on blue economy matters, will share with us valuable insights on that topic.

Q1. Victor Ventura: What separates the blue economy from the “traditional” economy? What is so innovative in that concept?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: I guess you’d meant “traditional ocean economy”. Well, a proper understanding of the blue economy must, of necessity, start with the initial understanding of the concept and operating principles of traditional ocean economy. The traditional ocean economy is the age-old maritime commerce founded primarily on fisheries (for food), and shipping (for transportation/movement/exploration). These traditional ocean economies subsequently increased in scope with advancements in technology to include offshore oil and gas, as well as marine tourism in western climes. The snag in these ocean and ocean-related activities was the absence/non-observance of sustainability principles as espoused by the Brundtland Commission in its report “Our Common Future”, which views sustainable development as the development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This is viewed as the balanced intersection of the 3 factors of economy, ecology and social well-being. The traditional ocean economy never operated in the context of these important pillars of sustainability. Thus, from a practical point of view, the blue economy differs from traditional ocean economy on the basis of the infusion of sustainability in the former, and the absence of sustainability in the latter.

Q2. Victor Ventura: How is the concept of blue economy supposed to provoke changes in which the oceans are managed?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: The concept of blue economy is expected to provoke changes in ocean management through the fundamental operating elements of ocean sustainability and marine spatial planning (MSP). The MSP would emplace and enforce compliance with the 3-dimensional sustainable development principles within designated maritime domains.

Q3. Victor Ventura: Does the blue economy relate to specific maritime spaces (such as the EEZ) or rather to all maritime spaces under national jurisdiction (TS, CZ, EEZ and CS alike)?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: The blue economy cuts across all maritime zones as contained in UNCLOS. The reason is simple: the marine environment is composed of very fragile ecosystems, and there are no physical boundaries/borders at sea to prevent the movement of unsustainable practices in one maritime zone to the other. Thus, sewage discharges from the land into internal waters may end up in the territorial sea, and continue, if unchecked, to the CZ, EEZ and CS. Recall that Articles 207-212 of UNCLOS identified 6 sources of marine pollution namely pollutions from land-based sources, seabed activities, activities in the Area, dumping, from ships, and atmosphere. Any of these pollutions can be found in any of the maritime zones with grave environmental consequences on zones contiguous to the polluted zone. This provides a good reason for the blue economy sustainability machineries to dominate the entire maritime zones.

Q4. Victor Ventura: What does an entirely “blued” economy ideally look like? Does it mean that a particular state will have achieved full sustainable management of its maritime spaces?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: An entirely blue economy would imply first, that the littoral state has activated strategies for the operationalization of all the sectors of the blue economy which consist of the traditional and emerging sectors. The traditional sectors are the very old sectors comprising fisheries, shipping, and offshore oil and gas; while the emerging sectors consist of marine biotechnology employing in large part marine genetic resources for variety of products ranging from cosmetics to pharmacopeia amongst others, deep sea mining, offshore renewable energies through wind, wave and thermal vents, sustainable marine leisure and tourism. I must admit that these sectors are more emerging in developing world than in the developed world.

Q5. Victor Ventura: How many avenues for public governmental and private action could the option for a blue economy open for a coastal state such as Nigeria or Brazil?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: A lot, depending on national interests and blue economy policies or roadmaps. For instance, the Nigerian maritime environment in the resource-rich Gulf of Guinea is believed to be capable of creating 40 million direct and indirect blue economy jobs and generating N7 trillion (US$1.94 billion) annually. These translate to huge opportunities for government and private organizational engagements for job creation, enhance GDP, and overall national development.

Q6. Victor Ventura: Which social actors must engage in the road for effectively implementing a bluer economy strategy?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: All maritime stakeholders from the ocean-based professionals such as skippers, ocean explorers, hydrographers, marine scientists, and the navies; to ocean-related professionals such as ship builders, chandlers, stevedores, maritime reporters, maritime lawyers/law of the sea experts, and ocean health workers. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Q7. Victor Ventura: How likely is it for poorer, Third World countries such as Nigeria and Brazil, to effectively implement blue economy guidelines nationally? What are, in your opinion, the main requirements for such successful implementation?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: Very simple. The first driver is a well-informed knowledge of the blue economy from an operational point of view. I must stress that what is predominantly known of the blue economy is blue economy concepts. The operationalization of these concepts is what I believe developing world would require to effectively establish a functional blue economy. Let me also add that there is presently a dearth of the operational knowledge of the blue economy. The second is the national/political will to do the needful, where the operational knowledge has been discovered. This, I have found out, is the primary challenge to the implementation of blue economy among developing countries. When these 2 are right, every other requirement would fall in place through proper planning and implementation.

Q8. Victor Ventura: What role is reserved for national Navies in implementing a shift towards a bluer economy?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: Ocean sustainability patrols, and the enforcement of MSP directives in accordance with step 8 of the IOC/UNESCO 10-step guide for MSP. This would mean the expansion of the scope of Ken Booth’s traditional peacetime roles of navies.

Q9. Victor Ventura: What is the role of education and technological innovation in achieving a bluer economy?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: Education through the creation of sustainability awareness and the resourcefulness of the oceans to stem its pollution is central to achieving blue economy ocean sustainability. Innovation is also key to its development because of the dynamic nature of the maritime environment. The present blue economy awareness is largely driven by the combined effects of education and innovation. For instance, the present knowledge of the deep-sea mineral and marine genetic resources was brought about by education/innovations, which were either lacking or in their incubating stages at the time of the drafting of UNCLOS.

Q10. Victor Ventura: What could the role of an Institute such as BILOS be, in terms of promoting a bluer economy? Are there international funds for blue economy projects that you are aware of?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: A law of the sea institute such as the BILOS could play a significant role in blue economy advocacy and training in ocean governance provisions of UNCLOS. On international blue economy funds, I’ll admit I am not aware of any particular fund specifically dedicated to the blue economy. However, I am aware there is the UNSDG Fund established after the adoption of the UNSDG in September 2015. The fund is aimed at assisting UN member States eradicate poverty in their respective countries. Perhaps the fund may be accessed through the SDG 14 implementation strategy plan – I hope so. Also, I recall there were some international bodies at the 2019 European Union Maritime Day held in Lisbon, who had indicated their willingness to financially support individuals and institutions championing the blue economy ideals, particularly in the area of marine liters prevention.

Q11. Victor Ventura: How relevant would international cooperation be, in terms of fostering blue economy initiatives between countries? Would you envisage a partnership between Nigerian and Brazil, given both countries’ oceanic features?

Commodore Daniel Atakpa: The future of the blue economy is a collaborative future on the basis of ocean global commons. Although Brazil is geographically distant from Nigeria (smiles), notwithstanding, both countries could mutually engage through diplomatic/bilateral cooperation to exchange blue economy ideas/expertise, as well as implementation strategies. One area that readily comes to mind, as a hydrographer, is in joint hydrographic training/exercises for mapping blue economy spaces. Another area, as a law of the sea expert, is through joint law of the sea conferences/seminars/workshops on blue economy. I think the opportunities for partnership are as varied as our individual and collective expertise would allow.

Concluding word: I sincerely thank you Vic for the opportunity given me to share my thoughts on the blue economy. I look forward to more engagements in the future. Fair winds.


By Rear Admiral CE Okafor, President NHS

Dear Colleagues, Patrons and Friends of the Nigerian Hydrographic Society. It is with mixed feelings that I speak to you on this special day of the 2020 World Hydrographic Day (WHD) celebration. This is partly because the impact of Covid-19 pandemic could not allow us to gather as we used to do in order to rub minds on pertinent issues towards advancing our noble profession in Nigeria and partly because of the tears on our eyes due to the sudden demise of our former 2nd Vice President and former Chairman of Warri Zone; Surv Chris Ojukoko. We are surely going to miss his invaluable contributions towards the success and progress of NHS. Notwithstanding, we join his family to submit to the will of God Almighty and fervently pray God to grant them the fortitude to dear this irreparable loss.

As you all know, the purpose of the WHD is primarily to publicize the importance of hydrography and why it is still relevant to humanity. So with the current imperatives of Covid-19 protocols, the team for this year’s WHD, which is "Hydrography - Enabling Autonomous Technologies" could not have been more apt. This is because the use of Autonomous Technologies, like the Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) and even flying drones to capture high accuracy, high-resolution bathymetry data for nearshore and coastal environments clearly prevents the spread of the Corona Virus from person to person. Therefore, we must start looking at optimizing the use of these technologies now and in the coming years so that we can continue to provide marine geospatial solutions to mariners in the most acceptable standard, while staying safe in the midst of the prevailing pandemic.

The year under review has been quite challenging, but I am glad to note that we have covered a lot of grounds in our quest to develop hydrographic capacity. As you are aware, the Navy who is our greatest partner, as well as the National Charting Authority and regulator of hydrographic surveys within Nigerian waters has produced a number of marine geospatial solutions, ranging from navigational charts to tidal information among others. Recently, the Navy published Nigeria’s first Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC), NG 525010 to demonstrate the level of hydrographic development in Nigeria. With you playing your roles under the Crowd Sourced Bathymetry initiative of the International Hydrographic Organization, through timely deposition of your bathymetric data at the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office, as required, we are sure to be on the right path towards helping our dear Nation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the UN. I, therefore, urge you not to relent in ensuring the maintenance of the right professional ethics and standards in your survey practices so we can consolidate on the gains made so far.

As we prepare to work in the most treacherous weather and ocean, as well as economic conditions in the coming year and beyond, let us endeavor to update survey skills and equipment so as to remain relevant in the ever evolving hydrographic technologies.

Finally, I wish to inform you that the National Executives have set up a number of committees and sub-committees to ramp up the Society. It is hoped that before 2021 WHD, the works of these committees would yield positive dividends to our Society, which all of us would enjoy. On this note, I want to appreciate you all for the confidence reposed on me to lead this noble Society. My special thanks go to the 1st and 2nd VPs and other National Executives for their contributions and supports during the year under review. I also want to thank the 2020 WHD Organizing Committee, who has made tremendous arrangements for the hosting the event, which was eventually scuttled by Covid-19. Your experiences will definitely be brought to bear in 2021, by the Grace of the Almighty God.

As Stakeholders in the profession of hydrography in Nigeria, we still have a long way to go, but through joint efforts we will succeed!

Thanks and God bless you all. Long live Nigeria, Long live the NHS.

By Linus Aneke of Nigerian Pilot

The consolidation on Nigerian Navy (NN) initial breakthrough in production of locally made nautical chart for use in Nigerian Maritime environment is not only commendable, but also aligned with local content policy of the federal government. The production of the Maritime Chart may come to many as a surprise, especially in this era of global lock down aimed at curtailing the spread of Chinese plague otherwise known as COVID-19 but to the Nigerian Navy it is a dream come true. This is so because the Service has in the recent time invested in training and retraining of its Officers and ratings in the aforesaid speciality, with the overall objective of improving navigation in Nigerian waterways..

In 2018, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas said that plans were underway for the nation to commence in-house nautical charting of her waterways. He noted then that hydrographers were already receiving needed trainings and data were being compiled for that purpose. Vice Admiral Ibas gave this insight at the opening of a five-day biennial conference and exhibition themed “Regional awareness on maritime geospatial knowledge,” organised by the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) and the Eastern Atlantic Hydrographic Commission (EIHC) in 2018 in Lagos. “The country had already completed the development of national charting scheme and built the right capacity for acquisition of hydrographic data both within the inshore and offshore waters of Nigeria,” he said. At the time, he said Nigeria had developed limited capacity in the building strategy, which deals with the ability to produce nautical charts. “At the moment, Nigeria has completed the development of National Charting Scheme and has commenced requisite training and compilation of data for production of nautical charts.

Currently, Nigeria produces training charts, at the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office which are used in many maritime institutions across the country for training purposes. I can only ask that you do more by way of providing billets in Cartography and accreditation of our Hydrographic School in Port Harcourt so as to consolidate on the gains achieved so far, and subsequently give mariners better hydrographic service delivery in West African sub-region,” he further explained. Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin has commended the Nigerian Navy (NN) for the production of the second locally made chart of some parts of Nigerian waters by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO). In a congratulatory message to the Chief of Naval Staff, officers and ratings of the NNHO, General Olonisakin expressed profound delight in the fact that the recent products of the NNHO, harbour and operational charts, are certified and recognized by international institutions. He averred that this achievement is coming at a time when the need to utilize indigenous resources has been underscored by recent global events.

Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche in a statement said the NN recorded a significant operational milestone with the production of the second indigenous navigational chart of some parts of Nigerian waters by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO). Disclosing the specific areas that the chart covered, the statement said, “The new chart covers parts of Badagry Creek, from Ogunkobo, through Navy Town and Mile 2 to Tin-Can Island in Lagos waters. Work on the chart started in 2019, and with the completion of the chart, the NNHO has now commenced work on its electronic version which will be forwarded to the International Centre for Electronic Navigational Charts for validation and release. In the last one year, the NNHO has produced a number of nautical products which are currently used by Nigerian Navy ships and establishments. These include harbour chart of Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft and Nigerian Naval Dockyard Limited water fronts, port guide of Lagos harbour and operations charts of the entire Eastern Naval Command”. Others, General Enenche said are maneuvering sheets for tactical navigation and a number of training charts among others. He posited that the International Hydrographic Community, particularly the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), has acknowledged the strides made by the Nigerian Navy in chart production. He also revealed that the UKHO has accepted gradual hand over of the survey data covering Nigerian waters which are held in their archive and also to adopt NNHO’s charts rather than producing new ones, adding this is a confirmation that NNHO’s nautical products meet international (IHO) standards.

“The NNHO wishes to maintain this standard to facilitate safety of navigation within Nigerian waters and seamless takeover of the charting functions of Nigerian waters from UKHO. In line with the coordination role of the Nigerian Navy in Hydrography, the NNHO is also currently developing a harmonized Standard Operating Procedures to guide all hydrographic survey activities conducted in Nigerian waters by private survey companies and sister government agencies. This would ensure that data received from any of these survey companies/government agencies are accurate enough to be included in a chart,” the statement concluded. While going down memory lane, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ubok-Ete Ibas said, “History has it that some years ago, Nigeria could not predict its tides neither could it produce the accompanying Tidal Prediction Tables for its ports and training charts for its Maritime Institutions; but with the steady progress made in hydrographic development, these products are now being produced in Nigeria”.

The CNS expressed hope that the 2018 biennial conference would provide an opportunity to renew contacts discuss problems and prospects of mutual interest as well as cover a wide range of important issues relating to the collection, processing and dissemination of Maritime Safety Information (MSI), Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure (MSDI) and data management among others. That hope and dream has no doubt materialized with the production of the second locally made Maritime Chart by the Nigerian Navy, a feat that had been applauded by many including the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin.

The Hydrographer of Nigeria Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Okafor at the same conference highlighted the importance of hydrography in the following words: “The primary purpose of hydrography is to protect human lives at sea by facilitating safe navigation but far beyond this hydrography contributes directly to the efficiency of maritime transport by allowing voyages to be shortened”. He explained that hydrography provides primary data essential for coastal zone management and development of ports and other coastal infrastructures. “Hydrographic data are critical requirements for the selection of routes for submarine pipelines and cables, selection of sites for wind-farms and offshore oil and gas platforms, as well as, underwater constructions and developments. In today’s unending maritime boundary disputes, hydrography supports the delimitation of maritime boundaries and Blue Economy. It underpins the forecasting of the likely spread and track of oil slicks, as part of oil spill response,” Rear Admiral Okafor enumerated.

By Okodili Ndidi of The Nations

The Nigerian Navy has been lauded for the local production of the second indigenous Navigational Chart of some parts of Nigerian waters by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO).

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, in a congratulatory message to the Chief of Naval Staff, Officers and ratings, signed by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, noted with joy that the operational charts and other products by the NNHO are certified by international institutions.

He stressed that “this achievement is coming at a time when the need to utilize indigenous resources has been underscored by recent global events”. The message read in part, “it could be recalled that the NN recorded a significant operational milestone with the production of the second indigenous navigational chart of some parts of Nigerian waters by the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO). The new chart covers parts of Badagry Creek, from Ogunkobo, through Navy Town and Mile 2 to Tin-Can Island in Lagos waters.

“Work on the chart started in 2019. With the completion of the chart, the NNHO has now commenced work on its electronic version which will be forwarded to the International Centre for Electronic Navigational Charts for validation and release”. It added further that, “in the last one year, the NNHO has produced a number of nautical products which are currently used by Nigerian Navy ships and establishments. These include harbour chart of Nigerian Navy Ship BEECROFT and Nigerian Naval Dockyard Limited water fronts, port guide of Lagos harbour and operations charts of the entire Eastern Naval Command. Others are maneuvering sheets for tactical navigation and a number of training charts among others”.

It will be recalled that the International Hydrographic Community, particularly the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), has acknowledged the strides made by the Nigerian Navy in chart production. Consequently, the UKHO has accepted gradual hand over of the survey data covering Nigerian waters which are held in their archive and also to adopt NNHO’s charts rather than producing new ones. This is a confirmation that NNHO’s nautical products meet international (IHO) standards. The NNHO wishes to maintain this standard to facilitate safety of navigation within Nigerian waters and seamless takeover of the charting functions of Nigerian waters from UKHO.

In line with the coordination role of the NN in Hydrography, the NNHO is also currently developing a harmonized Standard Operating Procedures to guide all hydrographic survey activities conducted in Nigerian waters by private survey companies and sister government agencies. This would ensure that data received from any of these survey companies/government agencies are accurate enough to be included in a chart.

Blue Economy in a Nutshell
By Cdre Sunday Daniel Atakpa

Earth's land-based resources are fast depleting on account of rising global population and the tragedy of the commons phenomenon. The tragedy of the commons embodies the economic-cum-ecological philosophy in which shared natural resources are exploited and overexploited without due regard to resource finiteness, particularly in an unregulated environment. It imperils, deliberately or unintentionally, future generations' chances to profit from the same resources, thereby making it the predominant factor inimical to sustainability. Land-based resources have borne the brunt of this plundering over the years because man, by nature, is terrestrial and therefore a subjugator of the terra firma as a global common. This negative impact becomes significantly evident when viewed against rising global population which hit the 7 billionth mark on 31 October 2011 and estimated to peak between 9 and10 billion by 2050.

To meet the resource needs of the rising global population amidst earth’s dwindling land-based resources, the ocean, for now, (the author believes the outer space would be the next) has been singled out as the generation-next resource base. The ocean is targeted because of its resource endowment and capabilities. It is capable of providing a means of livelihood for over 3 billion people, generating over US$ 2.4 trillion per annum, as well as creating over 3 billion jobs and employment amongst others. Of these global estimates, Nigeria’s maritime economy alone is believed to have the capacity for creating and generating over 40 million jobs and N7 trillion annually. However, these enormous ocean potentials expose it to the likelihood of suffering the same tragedy that characterized land-based resource extraction. Thus, to regulate, with the intent of preventing the likely carry-over of the tragedy of the commons from land to the oceans, the blue economy was conceived as a global response to the sustainable exploitation of ocean resources.

Prof Gunter Pauli first used the term blue economy in 2010 as a wealth creation strategy through nature-inspired derivatives on the basis of environmental correctness. Pauli’s focus, at best, was on land-based resources. The term, however, evolved into its current conception as a purely ocean-based and ocean-related concept through the Rio+20 declaration of 2012. The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the Rio+20 conference had advocated for the sustainable use of their ocean resources against the backdrop of their peculiar challenges of limited land resources, environmental/ecological vulnerabilities through natural disasters as well geographic remoteness and isolation which does not offer them as much economic footprint as mainland nations. Their significant numerical strength of 52 out of 194 United Nations member states provided them with the requisite negotiating leverage. Thus, the blue economy first gained traction with SIDS and later with mainland coastal states.

At the core of the global blue economy concept is the concurrent pursuit of economic growth from the oceans, while at the same time maintaining, at all times, healthy oceans to service succeeding generations. Before the advent of the blue economy, national socioeconomic development had always been at the expense of environment well-being. Therefore, the blue economy seeks to de-couple socioeconomic development from environmental degradation for enhanced national development. The blue in the concept derives from the characteristic blue colour of the ocean. Although the sky possesses similar blue colour, it however does not serve as a resource medium, at least for the moment.

The economics of a blue economy includes, besides traditional fishing and shipping, innovative ocean exploitation for marine biotechnology, deep sea mining, maritime tourism and renewable ocean energy amongst others. The blue economy, as an ecological economics development strategy, is reinforced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UNSDG) 14 which advocates the sustainable use of ocean resources. Thus, it can be rightly deduced that the blue economy strategy, as currently championed by its advocates, derives its international legitimacy from the UNSDG 14. The UNSDG is the developmental strategy successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It is a collection of 17 purposeful development goals and 169 targets to drive the goals adopted by the UN in 2015 with a 2030 fulfilment agenda. The UNSDG is universally binding on all UN member states, unlike the MDG which made distinction between developed and developing member states.

A cardinal focus of UNSDG in general and Goal 14 in particular is the principle of sustainability or sustainable development. Sustainable development, as conceived by the Brundtland Commission of 1987, is development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. The sustainable development of nations, particularly littoral states, from the oceans is therefore the raison d’être of blue economy. Thus, blue economy symbolizes and comprehends that form of maritime economy which employs effective regulation through ocean governance regime to achieve ocean sustainability for enhanced economic growth and improved citizenry well-being. A proper understanding of the concept begins with the understanding that all littoral states operate one form of maritime economy or the other by default. While the maritime economy exploited ocean resources under a tragedy of the commons principle, blue economy seeks to exploit ocean resources under an international sustainable development framework. Thus, the sustainability constituent of blue economy differentiates it from its age-old traditional maritime economy variant.

A balanced study of, and research on blue economy would inexorably be predicated on sustainable development theory which stands out as an appropriate theoretical framework for blue economy researches. The sustainable development theoretical framework advocates that economic development must go side-by-side environmental sustainability and social well-being in a manner as not to imperil future generations’ chances of developing therefrom. It is represented by the balanced intersection of the environment, society and economy. There have been differing views on the prioritization of the 3 components of sustainable development. Some scholars have advocated the allocation of greater weight to environment while others have advocated similar weight for society. There is, however, a general consensus on the allocation of the least weight to the economy, which has been the stimulus for the overexploitation of earth’s resources over the years with its attendant anti-sustainability outcomes.

The scientific measurement of ocean sustainability in an all-inclusive environmental, social and economic manner has been a major challenge in the assessment of the developmental impacts of blue economy since its inception. This challenge is an inherent constraint of the sustainability concept. It is for this reason that marine data (scientific ocean data comprising biological, chemical, oceanographic, meteorological and geological data) and maritime data (economic ocean data composed of blue economy investment data and percentage contribution of ocean resources to national Gross Domestic Product etc) constitute fundamental aspects of blue economy assessments. In the absence of adequate and relevant data, when and where needed, computing sustainability becomes difficult, if not impossible, and ultimately defeats the essence of the blue economy. These data which make up the blue economy statistics, are expected to provide decision makers with accurate information necessary for good planning for activities in the maritime domain consistent with ocean sustainability principles. Principal ocean sustainability principles include the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) regimes amongst others. These principles and practices give full effect to the sustainable development constituent of blue economy when effectively administered.

The MSP exemplifies the coordination of all maritime stakeholders within a given national maritime space for regulated and non-conflicting activities within the space with respect to who does what, when, where, why and how. Similarly, MPA ensures that certain maritime spaces are protected from ecosystem degradation within specified periods or ad infinitum. In essence, under MSP, the coordinator plans and administers national maritime space for the prevention of the tragedy of the commons. Thus, MSP plays a most critical role in the actualization of sustainable development under a blue economy. Consequently, littoral states seeking to emplace blue economy regimes must of necessity establish effective MSP where there is none, or strengthen existing MSP (which in reality may exist by other nomenclatures) where they are weak.

Three countries, one in Europe (Republic of Ireland) and 2 in Africa (Republics of Seychelles and South Africa) provide exemplary models for the establishment of blue economy. Ireland started her blue economy project in 2012 through an Integrated Marine Plan under the Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) policy. Under the Plan, Ireland established 8 blue economy enablers comprising the Clean Green Marine, maritime security and Research and Development (R&D) amongst others. Similarly, Seychelles started her blue economy project in 2015 by establishing the Blue Economy Strategy Roadmap Implementation (BESRI), Blue Economy Department (BED) under the Ministry of Finance, Blue Economy Research Institute (BERI), MSP Infrastructure and MPAs.11 Also, South Africa established her blue economy in 2014 through Operation Phakisa by establishing Ocean Economy Labs (OEL), an Ocean Act, an integrated ocean governance regime, national MSP and a Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) for the blue economy under the Presidency.

The 3 model countries provide the essential and mandatory frameworks required for the establishment and effective operationalization of the blue economy. These are credible legal and task specific institutional frameworks as well as MSP, maritime security and R&D amongst others. The net importance of these policies and frameworks are evident in their respective pre and post blue economy era Human Development Indices (HDI), which is the United Nations gold standard for the evaluation of national development. Ireland had HDI of 0.902 in 2012 and 0.923 in 2016, while Seychelles had 0.756 in 2014 And 0.782 in 2016. Meanwhile, South Africa’s blue economy project created 220 jobs and secured US$32.1 million in stakeholders’ investments in the first year of its implementation. It is also estimated to contribute US$ 1.3 billion to the GDP and create over one million jobs by 2033.Thus, the establishment of a well-articulated legal and institutional frameworks, as the blue economy first order of business, is a sine qua non. Relatedly, the emplacement of an effective maritime security, R&D and the maintenance of adequate and accessible national marine/maritime databank must of necessity follow up on the legal and institutional frameworks in order for blue economy to thrive credibly.

Blue Economy:The Nigerian Challenge
By Cdre Sunday Daniel Atakpa

Three countries considered as being in the forefront of blue economy implementation – Republics of Ireland, Seychelles and South Africa – provide would-be implementers of blue economy with useful lessons. The lessons include the need for well-articulated blue economy policy, robust legal and institutional frameworks, effective maritime security as well as adequate and accessible marine and maritime data among others. Two of these lessons, blue economy legal and institutional frameworks, would be discussed in this piece. It is important to establish from the outset that blue economy legal and institutional frameworks are intrinsically linked because the former precipitates the latter, and both are triggered by blue economy policy. blue economy policy articulates the policy direction of littoral states (although landlocked states can also emplace blue economy policies subject to the provisions of Arts 71 and 87 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) for the attainment of sustainable development from the ocean. The 2012 Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) policy document of the Republic of Ireland, the Blue Economy Strategy Roadmap Implementation (BESRI) of the Republic of Seychelles and the Operation Phakisa policy document of the Republic of South Africa were initiated preparatory to the establishment of blue economy regimes in the respective countries. One unique blue economy principle that featured in the three different policies is the centrality of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) to an operative blue economy. The MSP would be discussed in detail in subsequent editions. In Nigeria, the 2 developed maritime economy sectors are the shipping and fisheries sectors. There is however currently no single comprehensive policy bridging these 2 sectors under a maritime economy regime. Nigeria’s shipping policy (considered obsolete) is a stand-alone policy. Similarly, the Agricultural Promotion Policy (2016–2020) addresses agricultural objectives to the exclusion of fisheries which the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) superintends. Meanwhile, the National Fisheries Development Committee (NFDC), which is the highest policy formulating body on fisheries matters in Nigeria, appears to operate in isolation from FMARD. Thus, there is no fusion of policies between key maritime stakeholders. This does not allow for synergized ocean economy development and accountability. More importantly, this form of arrangement betrays the essence of MSP which aims at unifying and coordinating all maritime stakeholders in the national maritime space for the attainment of ocean sustainability alongside economic development through shared and common policy direction. The shared policy objectives are in turn translated into legal and institutional frameworks necessary for driving national blue economy regimes.

Legal Framework

The blue economy legal framework connotes legislative enactments for the establishment of blue economy under a balanced 3-dimensional (economy, environment and society) development. To give effect to her blue economy policy, the Republic of South Africa established the Ocean Act and the Integrated Ocean Governance regime. The Ocean Act was necessary to give Operation Phakisa the force of law as a blue economy component of South Africa’s national development plan 2030. Operation Phakisa created 220 jobs and secured USD 32.1 million in stakeholder’s investments in the first year of its implementation. Similarly, the United States of America (USA) Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSA) of 1976 was amended in 2007 to enable her achieve long-term sustainability in fisheries. The amendment instituted a fish consumption regime whereby about 85 per cent of USA fish consumption is caught, grown or processed in other countries, thus allowing her time to replenish her domestic fish stocks. Although this has its disadvantage because each fish bought from a country with less stringent sustainability standards contributes to the decline of global fisheries. Notwithstanding, the regime helped the USA to sustainably grow her ocean economy which contributed USD359 billion to her GDP and created 3 million jobs and 149,000 business establishments in 2013; up from significantly lower figures in the pre-amendment era. Thus, the enactment of sustainable maritime legislations (where there is none) and amendment of obsolete ones to accommodate sustainability principles is a prerequisite for the establishment of blue economy. Some of Nigeria’s shipping and fisheries laws have generated areas of operational conflict and duplication of statutory functions while others are simply obsolete requiring amendment. For instance, there exist marginal conflict areas between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) operations and some other maritime agencies (inadvertently created by their establishment acts and deliberately exploited by their respective operators). This has led to inter-agency rivalries, loss of national revenue and a clog in the wheel of progress in some instances. Similarly, Nigeria’s Sea Fisheries Act 1992 does not have provision for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF) and other evolving fisheries sustainability principles not envisaged at the time of its drafting. Thus, for Nigeria to emplace a blue economy regime, there is the need to rejig her obsolete legislations to conform to present day ocean sustainability realities.

Institutional Framework

The blue economy institutional framework covers the gamut of administrative and operational maritime entities established through legislative frameworks to actualize blue economy sustainable development objectives. The MSP is usually pivotal in blue economy institutional framework. It blends effective and judicious utilization of national maritime space by all maritime stakeholders through professional coordination. The MSP administrator is a versatile maritime expert per excellence. The Republic of Seychelles created the Blue Economy Department (BED) in 2015 to administer her blue economy project. Since its establishment, the BED (which actually matches her small economy of USD1.5 billion GDP and a population of less than 100 thousand as against Nigeria’s over USD 490 billion GDP and a population of over 180 million) has been the sole administrator of the country’s blue economy and answers to the central government on all blue economy matters. Similarly, under Operation Phakisa, a Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) domiciled in the Presidency provides the Presidency with a weekly monitoring report on the country’s blue economy. These mechanisms establish proper coordination and accountability for both countries’ blue economy regimes. Nigeria’s array of maritime institutions includes NPA, NIMASA, Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC), Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF) and the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) among others. The existence of some of these institutions under different ministries that operate independent of the other does not allow for proper coordination of the blue economy activities and proper accountability for the blue economy worth of the nation. Also, such arrangement tends to put a strain on national budget through different budgeting arrangements.

A Way Forward

Hereunder is a suggested progressive approach to the establishment of a blue economy in Nigeria. The first task is to establish a blue economy policy by constituting a team of maritime, economic and ecological experts to fashion out an all-inclusive blue economy policy. I designate this team the Blue Economy Implementation Strategy Team (BEIST). The Team is to, among other things, conduct lectures, town hall meetings, conferences and seminars and workshops on blue economy with maritime stakeholders across the country with the aim of collating their respective views on the planned blue economy regime. The Team is to articulate the different stakeholders’ positions into a policy direction for the blue economy. Stakeholders are generally composed of government and non-governmental bodies. The governmental bodies include but not limited to Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) such as the Federal Ministries of Transport, FMAD, Environment, Culture and Tourism, Nigerian Navy, NIMASA, NPA, NSC, FDF, NIOMR, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and MAN. The non-governmental bodies on the other hand include shipping companies under the aegis of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), fishing companies under the aegis of Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA), the academia under the aegis of Nigerian Maritime universities and Institutes (NMUI), Maritime Writers Association of Nigeria among others. The BEIST is to draft a Blue Economy Bill (BEB) from the articulated views/comments and expert inputs of stakeholders. The Bill is to include among others, the establishment of a MSP authority. The body could be a coordinating ministry, department or agency empowered to superintend all blue economy stakeholders in the country. The blue economy coordinating ministry, department or agency is to be headed by an administrator who is a distinguished maritime expert in both professional competence and high moral rectitude whose primary focus would be selfless service to the nation. These strategies, in my humble view, would serve as the very first step in the establishment of a credible blue economy for Nigeria.