The Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping was delighted to welcome a delegation from the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) to Antigua, including the UK National Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Rhett Hatcher, and the Head of Partnering and Engagement, Nathanael Knapp, further strengthening organisational ties in the field of hydrography.
The visit, on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 April, was hosted by Lt. Cdr. Wayne Mykoo, Deputy Director of Maritime and External Relations, and included constructive meetings with the Chief of Defence Staff, Colonel Telbert Benjamin, Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard, Lt. Cdr. Dorian Davies and the ADOMS team. The Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force Coastguard also facilitated a tour of St. John’s harbour to reconnoitre recent changes of key maritime facilities and infrastructure for inclusion on the official nautical charts, supporting safe navigation in and out of the port. Timely discussions were also held on the future of navigation, following the UKHO’s recent announcement to focus on digital charting in the future, following a steep decline in the usage of paper charts. Wider discussions were also held on the importance of hydrography to Maritime Safety, the local Blue Economy and Security, and protection of the marine environment. Further engagement is planned with the wider Caribbean region when Antigua and Barbuda hosts the IMO Regional Directors and Heads of Maritime Administration (DIHMAR) meeting in June, where the UKHO will also be holding a Hydrographic Seminar.