The Minister of Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah has said that government is very aware of the benefit of an updated hygrograph data and is committed to channelling more investment to enhance the nation’s blue economy.
Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences which deals with the measurement and description of the physical features of oceans, seas, coastal areas, lakes and rivers, as well as with the prediction of their change over time, for the primary purpose of safety of navigation and in support of all other marine activities, including economic development, security and defense, scientific research, and environmental protection.
According to the minister, the nation’s maritime sector does not only hold a huge economic acceleration opportunity but also has the ability to offer meaningful jobs to the youth.
Speaking at an event to mark 100 years of World Hydrography Day, on the theme ‘100 years of international cooperation in hydrography’, the minister said, as a coastal state, the nation is endowed with marine resources from which it derives enormous benefits.
He added that maritime trade constitutes over 70 percent of Ghana’s international trade, the reason it is important to give the sector the needed attention.
“I believe when it comes to the exploration of marine resources for national development, the important role of Hydrography cannot be downplayed. Through the work of hydrographers, we are able to measure and describe the physical features of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers, as well as prediction of their change over time to facilitate navigation safety and support other marine activities including security and defence, scientific research and environmental protection” he said.
The nation currently has a standing National Hydrographic and Oceanographic Committee (NHO) to build its national hydrographic capacity. The committee was established in 2015 and subsequently inauguration under the auspices of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in 2020.
The NHO among other functions collates and process all hydrographic information for the production of charts and dissemination of maritime safety information from member organizations such as the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Petroleum Commission, Fisheries Commission, Lands Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, University of Ghana and Regional Maritime Authority.
He commended the GMA for its deliberate effort at ensuring the production of quality and regular hydrographic information, but was quick to add that there is more room for improvement.
“At the moment, information for the update of Ghana’s nautical charts comes mainly from the ports and patrol activities and requires improvements. Fortunately, activities such as the exploration of oil and gas in our maritime domain generates hydrographic data, hence, the need to consolidate all existing data for the update of Ghana’s nautical charts.
We must acknowledge the enormity of the task, and equally be motivated by the overwhelming benefits we stand to gain through the availability of relevant hydrographic data for the emerging “blue economy”.
He added that, “I wish to use this opportunity to assure the international community that Ghana is committed and will continue to put in place the necessary mechanisms to build national hydrographic capacity and implement the recommended practices of the International Hydrographic Organisation.”