October 25, 2020

UK Hydrographic Office delivers new mapping data

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From The Governor’s Office

Representatives of the UK Hydrographic Office () are currently in the Cayman Islands to deliver the results of a seabed mapping programme to the Lands & Survey Department.

The programme will help to improve the safety of navigation in Cayman waters and ensure the territory is fulfilling its international maritime safety obligations under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.

The project is part of a wider programme to improve maritime charts across the Overseas Territories and was facilitated by the Governor’s Office and funded through the UK’s Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).

The project is based on the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) capacity-building model which has three phases:

  • Phase 1 is to collect and circulate nautical information to mariners via the Maritime Safety Information System;
  • Phase 2 is the identification of areas to be surveyed and their prioritisation and the conduct of surveys;
  • Phase 3 is the publication of new charts with data from Phase 2, which is undertaken by UKHO on behalf of the Cayman Islands.

In 2017 the UK Hydrographic Office undertook a survey of the waters to the west and south of Grand Cayman and also of the south western tip of Cayman Brac.  The data from these surveys was released to the Lands & Survey Department at a workshop held at the Government Administration Building Tuesday, 17 July 2018.

Chris Thorne, Head of Partnering and Engagement at the UKHO for the Caribbean region, commented, “the reason for carrying out these surveys was the fact that the data on the current charts is old and does not meet modern standards for safety of navigation.The new surveys using modern equipment ensures that we fully capture all of the features on the seabed and identify any dangers, as well as allowing other scientists to carry out research based on the information and to allow governments to use this data for planning for the future”.

 

Technical detail:

Where there is potential to undertake surveys, the main bulk of the work is done using vessel-based surveys (multi-beam) covering areas of importance for navigation; or in others airborne bathymetry and remote sensing satellite-derived bathymetry. The areas for survey are developed through a prioritisation programme based on the age of the current charts and shipping density as well as with meetings with local stakeholders.

A good understanding of the ocean is instrumental in efforts to help island territories realise their economic potential within their marine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and manage their marine resources sustainably. The data taken from this type of survey has many applications and can be used at every level – from the Government and port authorities, to container ship captains and local skippers. Fundamentally, this exercise is grounded in helping the Cayman Islands to realise its economic potential and unlock the benefits of the blue economy.

Aside from economic benefits, the navigational benefits for captains of any sized vessel are clear – a greater understanding of the ocean surrounding the islands will directly support safer navigation. What is more, as Primary Charting Authority for the islands, the UKHO has a commitment to helping ensure the territory is fulfilling its international maritime obligations under Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations.

Data collected during surveys is used to produce updated navigational charts, in digital and print format, for mariners who transit the territory’s waters or call at its port and berths. Finally, all of the findings of the survey will be provided to the Government to help inform their decisions for maritime policy in the Overseas Territory.

About the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO)

The UKHO is the UK’s agency providing hydrographic and marine geospatial data to mariners and maritime organisations across the world. Supplying defence and the commercial shipping industry, it helps ensure Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), protects the marine environment and support the efficiency of global trade.

Together with other national hydrographic offices and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the UKHO works to set and raise global standards of hydrography, cartography and navigation.

The UKHO’s market-leading portfolio of ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions is found on over 90% of the world’s ships trading internationally. Relied upon by mariners for over 200 years, the UKHO’s portfolio provides the most comprehensive range of SOLAS-compliant charts, publications and digital services to keep crews, cargo and ships safe.

The UKHO is a trading fund of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

 

 

 

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