Saturday 20 October, 2018

UKHO conducts seabed mapping in Jamaica to support blue economy

The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has commissioned survey vessels to the waters of Jamaica as part of the UK’s Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme.

By using state-of-the-art equipment, the UKHO will capture high resolution bathymetric data in Kingston and Portland Bight.

This information will be used to update nautical charts, which will improve the safety of navigation and help Jamaica meet its international obligations to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention and sections of the III Code. More accurate charts can enable larger ships to call, improving efficiency for cargo ships importing and exporting goods and attracting cruise ships – which should have a significant impact on the Jamaican economy.

The survey, which continues until mid-December, follows a Hydrographic Technical Assessment Visit conducted in January 2017, where local stakeholders such as the Maritime Administration, Port Authority and National Land Agency identified a range of activities in Jamaica that were impacted by its need for modern seabed mapping.

Supporting this work, on 10 November, the UK’s Minister State for the Commonwealth - Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the British High Commissioner for Jamaica - Asif Ahmad, and the Head of the Jamaican Maritime Authority - Rear Admiral Peter Brady visited one of the survey vessels which is undergoing preparations to commence surveying.

This work forms part of the CME Programme, a programme delivered on behalf of the UK Government by the UKHO, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). The programme aims to support the sustainable growth of Commonwealth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by making the most of their natural economic and environmental resources.

In future years, the UKHO hopes to secure funding to help Jamaica build their own seabed mapping capabilities, to enable ongoing support to efficiency of trade, cruise tourism and a range of infrastructure developments, as well as improving safety for both human and environmental concerns.