New seabed map to steer vessels to safety

| 18/07/2018 | 13 Comments
Cayman News Service

Head of Partnering and Engagement at the UKHO for the Caribbean region, Chris Thorne (third from left), leads a workshop

(CNS): Representatives of the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) are currently in the Cayman Islands delivering to the Lands and Survey Department the results of a seabed mapping programme that was undertaken last summer. The new map is expected to improve navigation safety in local waters and ensure the territory is fulfilling its international maritime safety obligations under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, as well as bring the islands sea charts up to date, officials said in a government press release. 

Chris Thorne, Head of Partnering and Engagement at the UKHO for the Caribbean region, said the new survey was needed as the current charts are old and do not meet modern navigation standards.

“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,” he added.

The project is part of a wider programme to improve maritime charts across the British Overseas Territories. It 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. The first is to collect and circulate nautical information to mariners via the Maritime Safety Information System; phase 2 is the identification of priority survey areas followed by the survey; the third phase is the publication of new charts, which was undertaken by UKHO.

In 2017 that office surveyed the waters to the west and south of Grand Cayman and also the south-western tip of Cayman Brac, which was the data released this week at a specially convened workshop.

The experts explained that the bulk of the work is done using vessel-based multi-beam surveys covering areas of importance for navigation; or in others airborne LIDAR 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.

Understanding local ocean beds is instrumental in territories realising their economic potential within their marine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and sustainable manage marine resources, officials said. 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. The resulting charts have been produced in digital and print format for mariners who transit Cayman waters or call at its port and berths.

Officials said the survey will help the Cayman Islands to realise its economic potential and unlock the benefits of the blue economy — something that so far the current environment minister has never spoken about. All of the findings of this survey will be provided to the government to help inform their decisions for maritime policy.

Cayman News Service

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Comments (13)

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  1. Capn Knuckles says:

    Whole pile of nothing!”Fulfilling their international maritime safety obligations SOLAS Oh yes Chapter V regulation 33 I wonder if Cayman & UK are complying with that section of SOLAS by denying Refugees in very unsafe boats basic assistance and threatening even local citizens from doing so? Which Cause them to drown in our waters of South Sound. No worries when its time to make money and make the natives believing we are doing it for their benefit . Poor old Cayman same old Game for the Local Loyalist Sheep???

    • West Bay Premier says:

      The new charts maps or anything else won’t steer some boaters safely after spending all day at Rum Point .

  2. Say it like it is says:

    This will come in very useful for the Marine Unit.

    • Keeping says:

      It would have been.
      But for some reason they were left out it looks like, from the picture I see.
      The one main unit to have there and they were not.

      Old Boy Network still up to its antics I see.

      • Anonymous says:

        Some people just do not get it at all 9.04 am. How many times have you read (Or maybe not) that the Marine Unit is strapped for manpower? Is that meant to be intelligent comment, or simply the usual stone throwing? You cannot get a quart out of a pint bottle! You would likely be the first to complain when your 14 ft aluminum boat is sinking, and you, with no life jacket, call for help, and get no quick response!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Going to have to do it all over after the Cayman Brac mafia tear it all up to build a cruise berthing facility.

  4. Changes says:

    Hopefully this will help Port Authority to do their job and put Proper Bouyage and Markers in place that comply with international standards.

    Does Government NOT know their responsibilities as it relates to the Markers and the related liabilities associated with NOT having the correct things in place.

    Maybe if the Government actually looked at advice from people who know what they are talking about and not advice from the OLD BOY NETWORK then their eyes might actually see what we are required under international maritime law.

    Things are a changing. Either get on with it or get pushed out of the way.

    Stop doing side jobs on Govt time and using Govt equipment.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s about time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If this confuses you, watch the TV show “Drain the Oceans”.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m happy

  8. Anonymous says:

    Which is the name of the Minister of this current Guvernment that has responsibility for Cayman’s Blue Economy?

    The answer should not be the Minater with responsibility for the Emvironment as this economy encompasses much more than that.


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