SL has potential to be regional maritime hub – Rajitha


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Sri Lanka has a very good potential to develop into a maritime hub in the region, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said.

Dr. Senaratne was speaking at the inauguration of the 12th North Indian Ocean Hydrographic Commission (NIOHC) meet which began in Colombo, on Tuesday (20). He said that NIOHC and all other international and regional gatherings enhance the international and bilateral cooperation including knowledge transferring and trade links, which will lead to the development in this sector.

"The National Hydrographic Office of NARA is entrusted with the important task of providing updated hydrographic data and relevant information for the safety of navigation. Within the next few months, NARA will be deploying a new research vessel fully geared to conduct hydrographic and ocean-borne surveys in addition to maritime affairs," Dr. Senaratne said.

The members and associate members of NIOHC held a two day meeting to discuss the issues and problems that they face in discharging their duties. They will discuss how they could help each other in the field of hydrographical, security and other issues relating to oceans.

The NIOHC has nine members namely Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom and Mauritius. The Commission also has five associate members (France, Oman, Pakistan, Seychelles and USA) and one Observer, Malaysia.)

International Hydrographic Organization President, Admiral Alexzandros Maratos said Maritime trade was very important not only for the economies of the 154 States bordering oceans, but also to most other countries lying further inland.

"We should reduce maritime accidents as we are ready to mark 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic and new technology is changing the way hydrography is practised and is constantly providing hydrographers new tools and better ways to operate," Maratos said.

He said that the growing importance of marine transportation for trade and economy has led to an increase in demand for data accuracy.

The IHO’s extensive programme of standard setting and technical cooperation, and its support in training and capacity building programmes in developing States, help States provide a better position to perform hydrographic services in their waters. This will maximise the benefits of maritime trade at the national level.

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