ST JOHNS, Antigua – The UK Hydrographic office (UKHO) has recently completed a three-week capacity building programme in Antigua and Barbuda to support safer maritime trade and the development of a sustainable blue economy.
Equipment and training, presented as part of the UK government’s Commonwealth marine economies (CME) programme, will allow Antigua and Barbuda to undertake seabed mapping surveys of its coastal waters. These surveys will enable the capture of data that supports the development of sustainable maritime trade through the creation of new nautical charts. Data collected will also be key to supporting disaster planning and resilience, coastal infrastructure development and protection of natural resources.
Wayne Mykoo, deputy director maritime affairs and external relations, ADOMS, said:
“The provision of a multibeam sonar and training from the Commonwealth marine economies programme will allow Antigua and Barbuda to continue to develop new skillsets and apply the knowledge gained to conduct marine surveys in our coastal waters.
The information gathered will provide valuable support in the development of our blue economy, allowing us to establish a robust national regime to sustainably manage the development of maritime trade and the exploitation of our natural resources.
As well as being used to allow vessels safe access to our ports and harbours, the data will be utilised in other disciplines such as fisheries and coastal zone management, environmental planning, and maritime security, and will also assist in the promulgation of policies focused on the protection our marine environment.”
Janet Douglas, British high commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said: “I’m pleased that the UK, through its Hydrographic office, is able to support safer maritime trade and the development of blue economies across the Eastern Caribbean. Through this initiative, Antigua and Barbuda is now equipped with new tools and expertise to help develop sustainable maritime plans and decisions into the future.”
Those in attendance at during the training included representatives from ADOMS, survey and mapping division, Antigua and Barbuda Coastguard and ministry of fisheries.