By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 1 Dec: The Indian Navy’s premier establishment, National Hydrographic Office (NHO) was established in 1954 at Dehradun. This Organisation headed by Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar, Nao Sena Medal, Chief Hydrographer to the Govt. of India is the hub and National Agency for production of Electronic Navigation Charts and Paper Charts for all Seagoing vessels. The Indian Navy celebrates Navy Day on 04 December every year to commemorate the attack on Pakistan’s Naval Assets in Karachi by the Indian Navy and the remarkable victory of India over Pakistan during the 1971 war. This year Navy week celebrations held at NHO included various activities such as a blood donation camp, quiz competition for school children and exhibition on the Indian Navy and the Hydrographic Department.
The celebrations will culminate with an ‘At Home’ function at National Hydrographic Office premises on 04 Dec 18. The Honourable Governor of Uttarakhand Baby Rani Maurya has consented to be the Chief Guest for the function and will be releasing the East Coast of India Sailing Directions, a guidebook for mariners which provides navigationally significant information on ports, sea routes and the East Coast of India.
The Hydrographic Department presently has a fleet of eight ocean going survey ship fully equipped with state of the art hydrographic and oceanographic equipment which can measure full ocean depths. The department also boasts of the National Institute of Hydrography, located at Vasco-da-Gama, Goa which is a premier Hydrographic training institution of National stature and a Regional Training Centre for countries in the Indian Ocean Region. This Institute has till date trained 703 personnel from 37 countries from the continents of Africa, Asia and Australia.
The Chief Hydrographer to the Govt. of India has a myriad of responsibilities amongst them being the coordinator for production of navigational charts and promulgation of Navigational warnings in the larger part of the Indian Ocean region. The area of responsibility roughly spanning from the mouth of the Persian Gulf in the West to the Malacca Straits in the East and upto 30 degrees South of the Equator in the Indian Ocean. The numerous nautical/navigational products manufactured by the Department are made available to the mariners through the Naval Chart Depots located at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam and various chart agents. The increasing usage of these products and services by mariners are sufficient testimony to the confidence reposed on them and the relevance of the Organisation.
The data collected by modern surveying vessels undergo rigorous verification for quality control prior to its certification as data, which thereafter resides in the Hydrographic Production Database and is subsequently provided to mariners in the form of Nautical charts and Electronic Navigational Charts in accordance with specifications of the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) for use in the Electronic Navigational Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS). In addition, the promulgation of marine safety information being very vital, National Hydrographic Office disseminates round the clock Navigational Warning through Global Maritime Distress and Safety Services (GMDSS) through International Maritime Satellites.
The Indian Hydrographic Department contributes significantly towards foreign co-operation in the form of providing training in Hydrography and Cartography, assisting countries with capacity building efforts and also conduct of hydrographic surveys overseas. To further international co-operation, the Indian Navy has entered into MoUs in the field of Hydrography with Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania and has been assisting various countries viz Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar for training and Hydrographic activities. The Department, in the recent past has conducted training on Electronic Navigational Chart production for trainees from Myanmar, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.