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Guyana expects increased marine traffic with availability of high-tech nautical maps, charts

Technical experts aboard the MV Dora which conducted the hydrographic survey.

Mariners can now get updated nautical maps and charts to aid them in navigating part of the Demerara River safely through a  British-funded US$1.1 million hydrographic survey, paving the way for increased traffic of boats and ships with larger amounts of cargo,  the Maritime Administration (MARAD) said Tuesday.

“The first phase of the project entailed an examination of the depth of the seabed and shoreline to detect any irregularities that may have existed. Also stemming from the project, will now be the immediate availability of updated nautical maps and charts to ships before they enter the port,” the regulatory authority said in a statement.

MARAD said now that the survey has been conducted, Guyana  would now “benefit significantly” from the survey due to increased marine traffic and cargo. “Vessel traffic is projected to increase, due to the availability of updated hydrographic data which will allow Guyana to maximize its economic potential with ships increasing their cargo capacity,” the agency added.

According to MARAD, outdated methods like the lead-line technique were used to conduct previous surveys, but
modern techniques utilizing a Multibeam Echo Sounder which uses multiple acoustic pings or sonar signals that bounce from the seafloor back to the survey vessel are being used.

The Commonwealth Economics Programme  was engaged in the process. Phase one of the survey was conducted by the British Surveying company IIC Technologies, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and MARAD.   The authority said 130 square kilometres of water in the Demerara River from the mouth to Grove, East Bank Demerara.

MARAD said two locally-registered vessels, MV Dora and MV Old Fort Tours were used to conduct the survey and plans are underway to fit the recently commissioned MV  Aruka with survey equipment to conduct phase two from November 2018 and train Guyanese personnel to  conduct similar surveys the required international standards.

MARAD, Guyana Lands and Survey Commission, Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard, and the Ministry of Agriculture (Fisheries and Hydromet Division) are several of the government agencies that are  collaborating closely for the successful completion of this programme.

Government said the hydrographic surveys campaign forms part of Guyana’s obligation as a signatory to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) which was ratified in 1983.