GIS - 29 June 2017: The considerable significance of hydrography for the sustainable and effective exploitation of the country’s Exclusive Maritime Economic Zone to develop the ocean industry was the gist of the message of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Lands, Mr Showkutally Soodhun, yesterday on the occasion of launching of activities to mark World Hydrography Day on board Coast Guard Ship “Barracuda” in Port Louis Harbour.
The Vice-Prime Minister stated that the ability of Mauritius, as a nation with a vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), to seize the opportunities found in the surrounding waters and transform these into sustainable businesses will be instrumental to Mauritius realising the vision of joining the league of high-income countries. Among the many potential sectors to achieve this vision, Mr Soodhun cited the ocean and seabed explorations for hydrocarbons and minerals, seafood processing and aquaculture, marine renewable energy and seaport related services.
The partnership with India in the field of hydrography was also highlighted by the Vice-Prime Minister. “The cooperation in hydrography is definitely a high point in the wide ranging collaboration between our countries,” said Mr Soodhun. As a result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2005, immense progress has been made in charting the vast EEZ of Mauritius. The result of the joint efforts have yielded seven charts which are widely used by mariners and other stakeholders and covering the major harbours, approaches to shipping intensive areas in Mauritius island, the outer island of Agalega, and parts of Rodrigues and St Brandon.
All seven existing charts have been assigned ‘International Status’ at the 13th South African and Islands Hydrographic Commission Conference. “International status would give international visibility to these charts and contribute to the safe navigation for almost 30,000 ships that pass by Mauritius annually,” the Vice-Prime Minister rejoiced.
For his part, the High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Mr Abhay Thakur, underlined the necessity to celebrate India and Mauritius relationship and sustain the friendship between the two Nations which span over decades.
“Hydrography, naval cooperation, maritime security, ocean economy are the most important vectors of Mauritius-India cooperation,” he said. The High Commissioner recalled that with several projects underway and the close collaboration at the United Nations, Mauritius and India are in a virtuous cycle of cooperation. Sectors of cooperation put forward by Mr Thakur include the awaited completion of detailed project report on the petroleum and bunkering hub at Albion and the completion of the container park terminal.
The High Commissioner moreover pointed out that the adoption of the Resolution at the United Nations General Assembly for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius strengthens Mauritius position in the Indian Ocean. “India is committed to help Mauritius in this endeavour which serves mutual interest and the region,” stressed the High Commissioner.
Increase public awareness on hydrography
The activities to mark World Hydrography Day, commemorated on 21 June annually, will span over three days, from 28 to 30 June 2017. An exhibition on the hydrographic assets of Mauritius, along with nautical charts and recent works undertaken by the Hydrographic Unit of the Ministry of Housing and Land, is scheduled for students of secondary and tertiary institutions, as well as the public. Interactive sessions followed by practical demonstrations on board Inshore Survey Vessel (IVS) Pathfinder will be organised. Visitors will also get the opportunity to see how nautical charts, publication and navigation charts are used on a sea-going platform. The aim of these activities is to provide a hindsight into hydrography and its benefits for the mariners and other users.
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