Hydrogaphy, the science of surveying and charting bodies of water, is essential to the safe, sustainable and cost-effective use of the world’s oceans.
This was International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim’s message at the 1st Assembly of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) in Monaco (24 April).
Around 90% of the world’s oceans and 50% of coastal waters have never had their depth measured. And there are higher resolution maps of the Moon, Mars and Venus than for most of the world’s maritime areas.
In this context, hydrographers make a valuable contribution to the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on conserving and sustainably using the oceans – whether in support of navigational safety, protection of the marine environment, coastal zone management, defence and security, resource exploration.
Lim highlighted that, since 2002, governments signed up to IMO’s International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) are required to provide and maintain hydrographic services and products.
New generations of ships with exceptionally deep draughts, new ports and coastal zone management plans are being developed due to changing trade patterns. This, coupled with the global mandate to protect the marine environment all combine to emphasise the importance of this obligation under SOLAS.