Paper: Hydrography as stepping stone


The oceans and the atmosphere don’t have boundaries and thus international cooperation plays a key role, as data and products exchange, capacity building and know-how transference efforts are necessary conditions to any attempt to establish an effective management of a maritime area.

Hydrography in Africa:
Stepping Stone to Effective Exclusive Economic Zone Management
Vice Admiral Luiz Fernando PALMER Fonseca
Director of Hydrography and Navigation of the Brazilian Navy
I – Introduction
Recognizing that “the unknown can neither be defended nor sustainably explored”, the Brazilian Government has been developing, over the last three decades, an extensive Hydrographic Research Program. This Program aims on extending Brazilian rights to explore and exploit natural resources on and below the seabed by the survey of the Brazilian Continental Shelf as well as to increase knowledge and to allow integrated management and sustainable use of living and non-living marine resources in order to contribute to the economic and social development of the country and for the defense of Brazilian national waters.
This Program is established by the National Marine Resources Policy (“Política Nacional para os Recursos do Mar” – PNRM) and the Sectorial Plan for the Resources at Sea and is executed by the Inter-Ministry Commission for Marine Resources (“Comissão Interministerial para os Recursos do Mar” – CIRM), in coordination with the Brazilian Navy.
Projects and activities are implemented in a decentralized manner through several government agencies, private institutions and the scientific community. Capacity building and international cooperation through Regional Hydrographic Commissions are other key factors.
This paper highlights the Brazilian Hydrographic Research Program and projects with African nations while exploring opportunities for increasing cooperation by means of joint capacity building efforts and research programs in order to contribute to an Effective Maritime Governance for Africa.
II – Brazilian Maritime Policies
The Brazilian Territorial Sea, Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf together have a surface of approximately 4.5 million square kilometers. Activities in these regions and adjacent oceanic areas are guided by the Brazilian National Maritime Policy (“Política Marítima Nacional” – PMN), Brazilian Antarctic Policy, the PNRM.. These legal instruments aim to promote the sustainable use of living and non-living marine resources with regard to the economic and social development of the country.
The purpose of the Brazilian PMN is to direct the development of the maritime activities of the Country in an integrated and harmonious fashion for the effective, rational and full use of the sea and inland waterways, in accordance with national interests.
Hence, the PMN essentially has arisen from the Government`s concern to properly manage national activities in the maritime sector by instituting common features, by strengthening human and economic resources and providing security, within the broader framework of the maritime environment. The PMN thus seeks the intelligent implementation of the naval component of Maritime Power, to benefit the interests of the Country.
The purpose of the PNRM is to direct the development of activities for the effective use, exploration and exploitation of living, mineral and energy resources in territorial waters, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf in keeping with national interests, in a rational and sustainable way for the social and economic development of the country, to generate jobs and income and to contribute to social inclusion. The PNRM is broken down into multi-annual sector plans.
The CIRM was created in 1974 to coordinate the PNRM and the Antarctic Program. CIRM, whose Coordinator is the Commander of the Navy, has representatives from the Brazilian Navy (which is also the Secretariat of the Commission), the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the Ministry of Planning and Budget, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chief of Staff’s Office of the Presidency and the Strategic Affairs Secretariat.
Major Programs
These policies are implemented by several national programs:
Program to Assess the Mineral Yield of the Brazilian Legal Continental Shelf (REMPLAC), aiming at the systematic basic geological-geophysical inventory of the Brazilian legal continental shelf and of other areas of environmental geo-economic interest.
This program will undertake the survey of marine mineral resources of the Brazilian legal continental shelf, through geological and geophysical survey and systematic breakdown of basic sites of geo-economic and environmental areas, to the assessment and identification of new sources of raw mineral, i.e., will determine the mineral potential of the Brazilian legal continental shelf, assessing the most important mineral deposits in that platform.
Initiated in 1997, this Program`s objectives have been primarily achieved by using the Brazilian Navy hydrographic ships subordinated to the Directorate of Hydrography and Navigation (DHN).
REMPLAC project aims at a better understanding and knowledge of the mineral resources of the Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters (BJW), especially in terms of:
– Placer concentrations of heavy minerals
– Phosphorite
– Evaporites
– Polymetallic nodules
– Cobalt-rich crusts
– Polymetallic Sulphates
– Coal
– Hydrocarbonates (oil and gas)
Plan to Survey the Brazilian Continental Shelf (LEPLAC) aims to establish the outer limits of the Brazilian continental shelf in its legal approach, i.e., to determine the outer limit, beyond 200 nautical miles, in which Brazil has sovereignty rights to the use and exploitation of the natural resources of the marine bed and subsoil.
In November 1996, Brazil completed the acquisition phase of multichannel reflection seismic, gravity, magnetic and bathymetry data, with the participation of several hydrographic and oceanographic ships of the DHN, Brazilian oil company (PETROBRAS) experts, and researchers from Brazilian scientific community. Overall, data were collected over 150,000 km of tracks distributed along the continental margin up to a distance of approximately 350 miles off-shore. Since its beginning, in 1987, it has been invested more than US$ 40 million within the LEPLAC Project, with PETROBRAS covering at least half of that amount with acquisition and processing of geophysical data, while ship deployments covered under Brazilian Navy budget.
The results show that Brazil has an area of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around 3,500,000 km² and an extensive legal continental shelf area, beyond the EEZ, on the order of 750,000 km², totalizing a maritime area of about 4,250,000 km², which is slightly larger than half the area of Brazil`s continental territory of 8,500,000 km². Within this area, Brazil has sovereignty rights and jurisdiction, as appropriate, in respect to exploration and exploitation of natural resources and exploitation of marine mineral resources.
The Brazilian proposal was submitted to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), in 2004. There are still a few technical differences to be the object of a new data collection phase to enable a new submission to CLCS.
Program for the exploration of mineral resources in the “Area” (GT-AREA)
Following the recommendations in Part XIII and its additional protocols of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Brazil began to plan the use of vessels to survey maritime provinces of the “Area” of economic interest, such as the Elevation of Rio Grande.
This program will provide a better understanding of the South Atlantic, enabling the identification of areas that represent new frontiers for the sustainable exploitation of marine mineral resources. Additionally, similarly to what happened with the petroleum and gas off-shore industry, it shall contribute to national technological development.
Program to Assess the Sustainable Yield of the Living Resources of the Exclusive Economic Zone (REVIZEE), aims at carrying out a survey of the sustainable catch yield of the living resources of the EEZ, with the following goals: inventory the EEZ living resources and their environmental characteristics, determine their biomass and establish sustainable catch yield.
Initiated in 1990 and ended in September 2006, REVIZEE Program raised the sustainable potential of the living resources harvesting in the Brazilian EEZ, in order to support fishing policies that ensure the sustainability and profitability of the activity, ensuring the right of sovereignty for means of exploration and exploitation, conservation and management of living resources of the EEZ, within the perspective of sustainable use of marine resources.
This project, with the participation of several universities and national scientific community, was conducted in four specific marine areas (North, Northeast, Central and South), due to the oceanographic characteristics and prior knowledge of the marine biota distribution.
Other programs involve the development of a national maritime mentality (PROMAR), environmental aspects (BIOMAR, ECOMAR e PNGC), sustainable development of fishing industry (REVIMAR, AQUIPESCA), capacity building (PPG-MAR) and the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR).
III – Policies` implementation à the Brazilian Hydrographic Program
The implementation of the above described policies and programs for the proper management of the Brazilian waters (BJW), including Defense oriented activities, are attributed to the DHN.
The DHN, the Brazilian Hydrographic Service, is the Brazilian Navy (MB) organization responsible for supporting the implementation of Naval Power, through activities related to hydrography, oceanography, cartography, meteorology and safety of navigation within Brazilian maritime areas of interest and inland waterways. Additionally, DHN contributes to national and international research projects.
DHN has four subjected military organizations:
– Hydrographic and Oceanographic Fleet Command (“Grupamento de Navios Hidroceanográficos” – GNHo) with the primary responsibility of maintenance of the Brazilian Navy research vessels;
The Navy Hydrographic Base (“Base de Hidrografia da Marinha em Niterói” – BHMN) with the purpose of performing the administrative and logistical activities in support of DHN and other organizations of the Naval Complex of Ponta da Armacao, in Niteroi;
– The Navy Navigational Aids Center (“Centro de Sinalização Náutica e Reparos Almirante Moraes Rego” – CAMR), the Brazilian Navy Lighthouse Authority
– The Navy Hydrographic Center (CHM), responsible for DHN`s technical activities, consisting in a systematic environmental data collection, analysis, post-processing, and the generation of products and services to their users.
Data Collection
The main source of data collection is ships and vessels spread over the Brazilian coast and major navigable rivers.
Another important data source is the Brazilian Buoy Program (“Programa Nacional de Bóias” – PNBOIA), which involves the implementation of a network of ARGO floats, drifting and anchored buoys off the Brazilian coast for collecting meteorological and oceanographic data and making them available, in near real time, to the international research and scientific community. This program also involves a network of 12 (twelve) tidal stations that contributes to the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
With respect to buoys anchored off the Brazilian coast, DHN is purchasing 8 (eight) meteo-oceanographic buoys, three of which to be received and deployed in 2009 and the remaining five in 2010. The buoys will be deployed along the isobaths of 70 and 200 meters in order to establish a severe weather and sea early-warning system.
DHN also participates, in cooperation with research institutions from France and the United States of America, in the PIRATA program (“Prediction and Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic”), with the goal to study the ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Tropical Atlantic, which affect climate variability in the region, deploying and maintaining a network of 15 weather and oceanographic buoys, ATLAS type. Brazil is responsible for the annual maintenance of 8 of these buoys.
A very cost effective tool for oceanographic, meteorological, mapping and intelligence data collection in large maritime areas is remote sensing techniques, which, in the Brazilian Navy, have been conducted by the Remote Sensing Division of the CHM. In spite of its potential to collect large amounts of high quality data to support naval operations, maritime traffic control, SAR operations, safety of navigation and nautical cartography at a relatively low cost, the overall gross amount of necessary financial resources has limited the development of its applications due to budget constraints. Therefore, most of the work has being conducted by using free software and images obtained on the Internet.
Aiming at developing a remote sensing data acquisition system that covers Brazilian maritime area of interest, DHN installed, in 2007, at the city of Natal (northeastern Brazil), an antenna to receive meteorological and oceanographic data from polar orbiting satellites (NOAA-USA and FY-China). The acquisition of this antenna was funded by PETROBRAS within a joint research project submitted by DHN and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
In January 2009, DHN installed an antenna in Rio de Janeiro (southeastern Brazil) and implemented the EUMETCast system for the reception of high-resolution images from the European new generation geostationary meteorological satellites (Meteosat Second Generation – MSG), provided at no cost by EUMETSAT (European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites), allowing the generation of atmospheric and oceanographic products.
DHN is also participating in working groups aiming at specifying technical characteristics of orbital vehicles under the Brazilian space program, which is coordinated by the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE).
Nautical Cartography
A database dedicated to cartographic production becomes essential in order to incorporate all the cartographic, oceanographic and meteorological data collected, in the same computing environment, allowing the generation of products, such as raster nautical charts, electronic navigational charts (ENC), printed nautical charts, digital products for military purpose and information to support navigation.
The establishment of this database is being searched by major hydrographic services to reduce the response time between the collection of hydrographic data and its timely dissemination to the navigator within the concept of “ping to chart”. This is an important step for the effective establishment of the “e-navigation” concept within the timeframe (2012) jointly established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).
Aware of the international commitment to have Brazilian waters covered by electronic navigational charts (ENC) by 2010, DHN is working on an effort to produce the ENC in accordance with the plan designed in 2007. Currently, approximately half of the 157 planned charts is available at the International Center for ENCs (IC-ENC), operated by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO). To improve Brazilian ENC global availability, DHN is negotiating a similar agreement with the Norwegian Hydrographic Service to allow the distribution of ENC through the International Center PRIMAR.
The prospect is that all the ENC needed to cover the Brazilian waters will be ready by 2010.
As part of this effort and to ensure product quality, which has always been a major concern of the Brazilian Hydrographic Service, its cartographic production process obtained, in November 2008, the ISO 9001/2002 certification by the Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance.
Meteorology and Oceanography
To generate a local environmental forecast, it is necessary to apply numerical modeling techniques, moving from a large scale prediction (Atlantic basin), to medium scale prediction (regional – off the Brazilian coast) and from there, reaching a high-resolution prediction for the area of interest. This methodology is applied to the generation of atmospheric, oceanographic and sea state products.
The predictions are prepared based on results from regional numerical models in a three step process:
a)     Low resolution (50 km), for a forecast range of 120 hours;
b)     Medium resolution (up to 20 km), for a forecast range of 96 hours; and
c)     High resolution (up to 10 km), for a forecast range of 48 hours.
These resolutions limit the size of the areas and the accuracy / amount of atmospheric, sea state and oceanographic phenomena that can be forecasted. Therefore, the low-resolution models are used for the prediction of planetary and synoptic phenomena (wind driven circulation, cold fronts, big swells, etc…), the medium-resolution models for the prediction of synoptic and mesoscale events (ocean currents, complex convective systems, sea waves without bottom interaction, etc…), and the high-resolution models for the prediction of mesoscale and microscale systems (ocean eddies, sea breeze, storm surges, etc…).
The numerical models to be used for medium and high resolution forecast are:
– atmospheric prediction models;
– sea state prediction models (due to wind), in ocean and shallow waters, and
– ocean circulation models.
Currently DHN operates an atmospheric prediction model (High Resolution Model – HRM – from the German Weather Service – DWD – and ETA) and sea state prediction models (WAVEWATCH III and WAM) for the Atlantic region (low resolution), for the Brazilian coast (medium resolution), for the Antarctic region and for the Southern-Southeastern Brazilian coast (high resolution).
Ocean modeling, which is currently operational only in the United States of America, France, Japan and Great Britain, is being developed through a partnership of the Brazilian Navy with the scientific community in a national research project funded by PETROBRAS.
The capacity for running operational prediction models also allows the generation of specific and customized products to support the Brazilian troops in peacekeeping missions, as in Haiti, to support operations in places with severe weather, as in Antarctica, as well as for special events, such as the support of the Brazilian sailing team at the Olympic Games in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008).
III – Defense Applications
As an institution of the Brazilian Navy, one of main goals of DHN is the development of applications aimed at providing the best exploitation of the environmental factors that will benefit a Naval Force. Nevertheless, the dual character of the knowledge obtained on the development of these applications, allows the development and dissemination of products for the safety of navigation and economical activities connected to maritime transport, tourism, fishing and off-shore industries.
Thus, the basis of the whole process for the development of defense applications is the systematic, timely and accurate data collected from ships, buoys, coastal stations and remote sensors.
The next step is the analysis and quality control of the collected data to be stored in an environmental database.
Thereafter, these data are processed to generate intermediate products to meet tasks associated with the mission of DHN.
Finally, these products are customized to generate decision aids that constitute in a factor of force by enabling the exploitation of environmental factors in favor of a Naval Force.
The success of this process is not determined by the amount of financial resources available to deal with the technological boom that characterizes the dawning of the XXI century and the monitoring of extensive maritime areas, but by qualification and motivation of the people responsible for its implementation.
Therefore, it remains valid an old seaman statement: “Men mean more than guns in the rating of a ship.” (Captain John Paul Jones).
IV – International Cooperation
The oceans and the atmosphere don`t have boundaries and thus international cooperation plays a key role, as data and products exchange, capacity building and know-how transference efforts are necessary conditions to any attempt to establish an effective management of a maritime area.
The role of DHN is closely related and is influenced by the deliberations of several international forums:
– IHO (International Hydrographic Organization) – hydrography and nautical cartography;
– IOC (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission) – oceanography;
– WMO (World Meteorological Organization) – meteorology;
– JCOMM (Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology) – oceanography and marine meteorology;
– IALA (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities) – navigational aids; and
– International Maritime Organization (IMO) – navigation.
Regional Hydrographic Commissions (RHC) were established by the IHO to coordinate hydrographic efforts and cartographic production of the national hydrographic services in their respective areas of responsibility and to contribute to increase safety of navigation.
These objectives are achieved through capacity building programs, some financially supported by the Capacity Building Fund of the IHO, which include meetings, seminars, workshops, trainings, and courses.
Brazil is as a full member of the RHC for the Antarctica (HCA), South Western Atlantic (SWAtHC), the Meso-American and the Caribbean (MACHC) regions, and is also participating, as observer, on the RHC for the Southern Africa and Islands (SAIHC).
V – Projects in Africa
In addition to historical and cultural ties that have always linked Brazil to the African continent, the Brazilian Navy, and in particular DHN, has been increasingly participating in projects with African nations.
In 1997, DHN in cooperation with Namibia, sent the hydrographic vessel “Sirius” to collect bathymetric data in the access to the Walvis Bay and, as a result, issued the first edition of the nautical chart for this port.
Since 2004, DHN is involved in the Namibia Continental Shelf Survey Project (LEPLAC-Namibia). Besides sending Officers to participate in hydrographic cruises during the data collection phase, DHN is also participating in quality control activities provided by third parties, aiming at preparing and defending Namibian proposal of the outer limits of its continental shelf to be submitted to the CLCS.
VI – Final remarks
This briefly overview of Brazilian main policies and programs implemented for the management and sustainable exploitation of natural resources in its jurisdictional waters is aimed at providing examples to be discussed during this Symposium and to identify possible areas of common interest to further strengthen technical and scientific cooperation among our countries.