Information Officer II
The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) is turning its focus to surveying the BVI’s waters as it moves to enhance navigation safety, and better plan and manage the Territory’s underwater resources.
To this end, the VISR facilitated a stakeholder meeting with the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), to establish the status of the Territory’s hydrographic capabilities and identify priority areas for data collection as well as training to ensure compliance with international law.
Director of Shipping, Captain Raman Bala said surveillance of the Territory’s waters to modern standards enhances safety of navigation by identifying the depths of water and the obstructions underneath. He added that it provides information for management of fisheries.
Captain Bala said, “The environmental impact of marine tourism can be assessed in a scientific manner. This data collected provides better tools for planning and managing our rich underwater resources.”
He added, “The Virgin Islands has international obligations to ensure that its waters are properly surveyed to modern standards, and that navigational charts and publications are available to the mariner. Whilst the navigational Charts and Publications are produced by the UKHO on behalf of the BVI, a significant percentage of the BVI’s waters have not been surveyed to modern standards.”
Hydrographic Development Advisor, UKHO, Mr. David Parker led the sessions which were held from March 20 to 22. Participants included officials from BVI Ports Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Land Survey Department, National Parks Trust, Department for Disaster Management, Fisheries Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. One-on-one meetings were also held with stakeholders.
Mr. Parker said, “The BVI has more areas under water than over the ground. As such, an understanding of what lies beneath the waters by using modern day survey techniques, will enhance the ability to exploit these resources to the full extent.”
Gaps in the hydrography framework in relation to legislation and governance have been identified as a result of the meetings with UKHO. Priority areas for the survey have been objectively researched, methods to broadcast maritime safety information have been determined and training needs for the individuals involved have been assessed.
The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry seeks to ensure that Virgin Islands ships can safely, securely and efficiently enjoy the freedom of the seas and the support of a vigorous and effective Maritime Administration.
Photographs are attached:
- Stakeholders meet with representatives from the United Kingdom Hydrography Office in BVI on March 21, 2017. (Photo credit: GIS/ Franklyn Skerritt)
- Hydrographic Development Advisor, UKHO, Mr. David Parker (Photo credit: GIS/ Franklyn Skerritt)