Seabed 2030 announces new partnership with one of Africa’s biggest navies in first collaboration of its kind on the continent.

From left: Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director; Evert Flier, Chair of the GEBCO Guiding Committee; Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation and Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Ebenezer Okafor of the Nigerian Navy on board the MV White Rose of Drachs

The global initiative dedicated to achieving a complete map of the ocean floor – The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project – has announced a new partnership with the Nigerian Navy in support of its mission. The parties entered into a memorandum of understanding which will see them work collaboratively towards obtaining the most comprehensive dataset of the world’s seabed by the end of the decade.

The announcement was made on board the 65-metre MV White Rose of Drachs currently berthed in the Port of Cap d’Ail.

The Nigerian Navy – among the largest navies on the African continent – brings valuable expertise and resources to the initiative. In addition to providing defence services, the navy acts as the sole national authority on hydrographic, charting and tidal matters. With the potential involvement of up to 20 vessels in the Nigerian fleet, the country’s participation with the Seabed 2030 project will enable the latter to expand its reach and make great strides in its vital goal.

Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and GEBCO to inspire the complete mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030 and to compile all bathymetric data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map – it is also a formally endorsed Decade Action of the UN Ocean Decade. GEBCO is a joint programme of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and is the only organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor.

This partnership marks a significant milestone for Seabed 2030, as it is the first collaboration of its kind in Africa.

The signing took place against the backdrop of the 3rd IHO Assembly, which brought together representatives of its 98 Member States and Observers to discuss new developments in ocean mapping and technical standards.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Nigerian Navy to our valued network of partners,” said Jamie McMichael-Phillips, Seabed 2030 Project Director. “The expertise and resources offered by the Navy greatly enhances our data collection capabilities.

“Together, we can advance understanding of the ocean floor and pave the way for a more sustainable future.”

Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Ebenezer Okafor of the Nigerian Navy said: “The Nigerian Navy is pleased to partner with Seabed 2030 on this ambitious mission. We have a wealth of experience in oceanographic research and survey operations, and look forward to contributing to this global effort to better understand – and ultimately protect – the ocean.”

The partnership follows the recent announcement of the 2023 GEBCO grid figure with a quarter of the entire seabed now mapped. It demonstrates Seabed 2030’s commitment to building its global network of partners and mobilising the international community in support of its ambitious goal in the time remaining until 2030.

All data collected and shared with the Seabed 2030 project is included in the free and publicly available GEBCO global grid.

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