Amid celebrations to mark the annual International Hydrography Day, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Transportation, Hon. Gbemisola Saraki has called for more women participation in the profession.
Saraki made this call during her keynote address at an event in Lagos yesterday to mark the annual hydrography celebration to publicise the work of hydrographers and the importance of hydrography.
According to the Transport Minister, like other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, hydrography has traditionally seen low percentage of female participation.
“It is my hope that in your pursuit of excellence, you will begin to promote and include women in hydrography daily as well,” she said.
However, she noted that the nation is in celebration mood because Nigeria has been able to combat piracy and crimes at sea within the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and her territorial waters with zero incidents recorded in five months.
“Today makes it five months of zero attacks on our waterways. This is the first time in 28 years that there has been no attack. This is a feat duly recognised by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
“I therefore congratulate the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Navy and of cause the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).”
“The celebration of the Hydrography Day is as much about the work and responsibilities of our Navy as it is about the geographical landscape of our waters.
“For a nation like ours with 853 kilometres of coastline, hydrography is both an economic and a national security issue. To many of us not privileged to wear this Omo Bright sparkling white uniform, today is Hydrography Day. Every day is Hydrography Day to a Naval Officer or a Cadet,” she said.
Saraki described hydrography as the key driver of ocean science studies which depicts the physical features of the ocean, and posited that it is the starting point for any meaningful understanding of the world oceans.
“It is this knowledge that enables us to better manage our ocean assets and deliver economic and environment solutions to the maritime public and stakeholders across Nigeria. It is in this regard that I consider the theme for this year’s World Hydrography Day – ‘Hydrography: Contributing to the United Nations Ocean Decade’ apt,” she stressed.
The Transport Minister also expressed delight that Nigeria is already receiving global accolade with NNS LANA awarded the “Best Large Research Vessel in the world for the Year 2022” by Baird Maritime.
She noted that the government has also placed an order with Messrs. OCEA of France for the delivery of a 35-meter hydrographic research vessel, which would work side-by-side NNS LANA to further boost the nation’s hydrographic research capacity towards actualizing the objectives of the UN’s Decade Ocean Science.
In his goodwill message, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh stressed that the importance of hydrography to the maritime industry cannot be overemphasized and that platform for global recognition raises public awareness about hydrography’s global benefits to navigational safety, ocean conservation and environmental preservation.
His words: “I am delighted to be identified with the World Hydrography Day. I want to seize this opportunity to thank the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic Office (NNHO) and the Nigerian Hydrographic Society (NHS) for hosting the 2022 Worid Hydrography Day (WHD) Celebration in Nigeria.”
“In addition to ensuring the safe and efficient navigation of ships, Hydrography underlies practically every other sea-related activity.
“Just like part of NIMASA’s mission is to sustain safe and secure shipping, hydrography deals with monitoring physical features of the oceans and seas for the primary purpose of navigation safety.”