Jamaica’s focal point to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), The Maritime Authority of Jamaica, is currently hosting a regional training workshop on basic electronic navigational charting (ENC) and electronic navigational chart production.
The workshop is being held for two weeks from September 6-17, 2010 at the Caribbean Maritime Institute and is being funded by the IMO under the “support to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for their special shipping needs,” in conjunction with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
Colin Young, the IMO’s Regional Maritime Adviser explains that “the region suffers from a relatively limited state of hydrographic capabilities, however the IMO convention that governs safety of life at sea demands that the provision and maintenance of hydrographic services is no longer a matter of choice for signatories to this convention.”
He said the purpose of the course is to “provide an understanding of ENC and the associated standards. It aims to explain the phases for a full understanding of the complete process in ENC production.” This is important as safe navigation and protection of the environment are critical in an era where ships are becoming larger with correspondingly deeper drafts, emergence of new trading patterns, ports and offshore terminals are being built and expanded creating the need for new channels to access them. Mr. Young explains.
Additionally, “It is estimated that over 30% of the world’s crude oil passes through the Caribbean which is home to over 50% of the world’s cruise shipping. In addition, the region endures a hurricane season from June to November; the storms can and do leave a trail of devastation on the islands and their coasts. For these reasons, it is crucial that Contracting Governments undertake hydrographic surveys as and when required, that they arrange for the compilation and publication of hydrographic data, the dissemination and keeping up to date of all nautical information necessary for safe navigation, maintaining an understanding and awareness of developments in the hydrographic and cartographic community is also paramount, and this course supports that continuous professional development approach.” He said.
Rear Admiral Peter Brady, Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, in welcoming participants from 13 countries from the Caribbean and Latin America and Jamaica, noted the importance of the course. “Seafarers rely on the producers of navigational charts for accurate information regarding the nature of channels, the placement of navigational aids and accurate markings of shipping hazards, to safeguard navigation and protection of the marine environment from accidents at sea. As such we welcome this course to augment the knowledge of those in the region responsible for the production of these charts.”
The course is being run by Mr. Derek Aldridge, Cartographic Training Officer and Mr. Ken Blagdon, ENC Training Officer, both of the Hydrographic Office in the United Kingdom.