National Hydrographic and Oceanographic Committee Inaugurated

The Ghana Maritime Authority [GMA] has set up a 12 member National Hydrographic and Oceanographic Committee to ensure that the maritime laws in territorial and international waters are properly respected in accordance with the Maritime Conventions and Treaties in force.

Addressing members of the committee, the Director General of Ghana Maritime Authority [GMA], Rev. Peter Issaka Azuma noted that the Authority conducted a National Hydrographic Technical Status exercise to assess Ghana’s hydrographic and oceanographic requirements.

The exercise, according to the D-G, reveals that in the absence of a national coordinating committee, vital information needed for update of nautical charts which are essential for the safety of navigation are being archived by other government agencies.

Rev. Peter Issaka Azuma added that most hydrographic activities in Ghana are conducted under varying specifications and standards and as a result data formats are often not compatible for use at the interagency level.

He mentioned duplication of work and lack of coordination as a major setback in the sector.

The committee is therefore expected to formulate a National Hydrographic and Oceanographic standards and policies in line with the International Hydrographic Organization [IHO] and IOC specifications.

Other task includes developing and maintaining a National Hydrographic and Oceanographic Database, act as a focal point and respiratory for hydrographic and nautical information, to coordinate and plan hydrographic and oceanographic activities to avoid duplication of work.

Marilyn Eghan, Hydrographer, Ghana Maritime Authority, added that data put together by the committee will also provide relevant information to beach guards and operators.

She said beach guards with relevant information about beneath the sea can determine which specific areas are dangerous and deadly beach-lovers and swimmers.

“In fact, it is possible to know that a location where one stands may be normal but an inch from that particular spot may be dipper and therefore can cause one to drawn. But information obtained can rectify some of these ignorance which normally ends in deaths of many people at the beaches during festive occasions,” she intimated.

Members of the Committee are drawn from GMA, Fisheries Commission, University of Ghana Marine and Fisheries department, Regional Maritime University, Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Hydrological Service Department, Survey and Mapping Division of Land Commission including a representative from GNPC and VRA.

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