The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on Wednesday expressed optimism that the naval nautical products would support Nigeria’s Blue Economy project and maritime security.
Amaechi said this at the inauguration of the Indigenous Survey and Charting of Nigeria’s Offshore Waters by Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) LANA at NNS BEECFROT, Apapa, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NNS LANA, equipped with a state-of-the-art survey equipment, was welcomed into Nigeria in May 2021 from her maiden voyage from France for hydrographic purposes.
The minister said that hydrographic services provided in form of charts, maritime safety information, timetables and other navigational publications would offer essential information to facilitate safe navigation of ships.
“It is estimated that over 90 per cent of global trade volume is conducted by sea; the most-cost effective medium for transporting bulk cargoes and essential services.
“Therefore, without hydrographic services, shipping will be exposed to navigational hazards which will affect security and the economy of nations.
“Without nautical charts and publications, ultimately, there will be no effective maritime activities including naval operations. This will translate into insecurity and underdevelopment around the globe,” he said.
Amaechi noted that Nigeria’s offshore and coastal waters covered a total area of about 84,000 square nautical miles.
“Also, about 85 per cent of Nigeria’s import and export freights are transported through this maritime domain,” the minister said.
He said that, that was why President Muhammadu Buhari acquired NNS LANA and that another 35 msurvey boat that was still under construction in France to realise and secure the economic importance of Nigeria’s maritime domain.
“The survey is expected to provide the necessary enablers to support the Federal Government’s economic diversification initiative through improved maritime security, maritime trade and transport and improved economic prosperity.
“The survey will make available up-to-date-indigenous nautical products that will facilitate the smooth take-off of the new deep sea ports that are under construction in various parts of our offshore areas.
“This will provide over 2 million direct and indirect jobs, increase the visibility of the ports and ultimately decongest Lagos traffic as well as reduce pressure on our roads,” the minister said.
Amaechi added that the survey would also provide basic information required for further scientific research by other government agencies toward the exploitation and the exploration of resources within Nigeria’s offshore and coastal areas.
He urged all various maritime stakeholders to seize the opportunity to work harmoniously and assiduously with the Nigerian Navy toward the completion of the national survey within the shortest possible time.
Also speaking, the Chief Of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Awaal Gambo, said that this would be the first time a Nigerian owned survey vessel manned by NN personnel would be conducting a systematic hydrographic survey of our offshore waters.
“The implication of this, is that in the next few years, indigenaously produced charts of today’s nautical charts and publications would be available for mariners’ use within Nigeria’s waters,” he said.
Gambo said that the Nigerian Navy and the University of Lagos in February signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU)for partnership in hydrographic survey to further consolidate the capacity of the NN hydrographers.
“I have no doubt that the survey will be conducted in line with international standards.
“Today will go down in history as the day Nigeria finally began the process of taking ownership of the survey and charting of its coastal and offshore areas.
“This is critical to our socio-economic development, national security and maritime defence as well as the safety of navigation in our waters,” the CNS said.
Gambo thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his relentless support to the development of the Nigerian Navy and the the Nigeria Armed Forces in general.
“I assure you that the Nigerian Navy will make judicious use of this asset and will support the Federal Government in realising its economic objective,” he said.