Sri Lanka strengthens bilateral ties with the UK

Signs two bilateral agreements with UKHO for national charting activities

National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) representing Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) representing the United Kingdom signed two bilateral agreements at NARA today (11th Oct 19).

Accordingly, Chairman NARA Eng. E.A.S.K. Edirishinghe and CEO of UKHO Rear Admiral Tim Lowe, CBE signed the agreements on production and distribution of Standard Nautical Charts (SNC) and Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC) for the country.

Both agreements will enable Sri Lanka to produce its own SNCs and ENCs with professional and technical assistance of the UKHO and distribute among the international customers through its worldwide network. As a result, existing UK charts, both SNCs and ENCs, which cover waters of Sri Lanka’s jurisdiction will be replaced by Sri Lankan products in the future.

Sri Lanka though abided by international obligations under ‘Safety of Life At Sea’ (SOLAS) convention to provide up to date navigational information to the mariners in order to safely navigate within its waters, did not have the capacity to produce such charts in accordance with international standards. Therefore, this task was entirely vested upon the UKHO since 2001. However, with the joint collaboration with Sri Lanka Navy Hydrographic Service since 2016, the national hydrographic activities have been boosted up in a very short span of time and the National Hydrographic Office of Sri Lanka is now capable of producing such charts for the mariners as a result.

This collaboration will pave the way for Sri Lanka to reap the benefit from its massive ocean resource and help develop blue economy as this is perfectly in line with the “UN decade of ocean science for sustainable development”, which will commence in 2021.

Speaking at the event, CEO of the UKHO RAdm Tim Lowe said “I am indeed happy to see the development of Hydrography in Sri Lanka with RAdm Sisira Jayakody of Sri Lanka Navy Hydrographic Service taking the lead as the Chair of North Indian Ocean Hydrographic Commission. Further, he stressed out that the strategic location where Sri Lanka is situated could bring more benefits and Hydrographers have to play a big role in it.

Chief Hrdographer of the Navy expressing his views said “This is a start of a new beginning and Sri Lanka will strive to achieve success overcoming technological advancements in the industry with the assistance of UKHO in years to come”.

Chief Hydrographer of the Navy, Director General of NARA and other senior officials from NARA and SLNHS were also present at the occasion.