South African Navy hydrographer Captain Abri Kampfer has become the fourth recipient of the Alexander Dalrymple Award for outstanding work in world hydrography.
The award was instituted in 2006 when June 21 was proclaimed World Hydrographic Day. The first two recipients were British Rear Admiral Steve Ritchie in 2006 and Captain Mike Barritt in 2007, and the third Horst Hecht of Germany.
Britain`s National Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Ian Moncrieff, who made the announcement of Captain Kampfer`s award, says despite “difficulties in retaining a small qualified staff of just 24 people, the South African (Hydrographic) Office is a mature centre of expertise in the region”.
Kampfer was appointed as the South African Navy Hydrographer in 2003 and shortly afterwards as the chair of the South African and Islands Hydrographic Commission, SAPA reports.
“He has also worked tirelessly to promote hydrography in Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia and Uganda,” the Navy said in a statement to highlight Kampfer`s achievement.
“Captain Kampfer chaired the major International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) task group relating to the Worldwide Electronic Navigational Database that is central to the delivery of Electronic Navigational Charts. Under his guidance South Africa has also become a leader on the production of electronic navigational charts of their area of responsibility.”
Hydrography is the art and science of charting the ocean floor and ensuring that ships can navigate safely whilst at sea.
Without reliable charts no ship can safely sail the world`s oceans, the Navy says. The SA Navy is responsible to produce world-class charts of the entire South African coastline, including the coastline of Namibia.
More than 90% of global trade and 70% of the annual world oil consumption are transported by sea. With approximately 80% of imports and exports moving through our harbours, it is absolutely vital to the South African economy that the SA Navy maintains a professional hydrography service.
The SA Navy`s hydrographic vessel, SAS PROTEA, is responsible to collect the raw data, which is then sent to the Hydrographic Office in Silvermine.
At this office the data is verified in a very exhaustive progress to ensure that it is accurate.
The charts are then produced and made available to all mariners across the world. The SA Hydrography office has produced and maintains more than 100 local charts, more than 30 international charts and nine publications.
SAS PROTEA uses specialised equipment to chart the coastline from the high-water mark up to a depth of 6000m.
Without a professional and credible hydrographic service, the insurance costs for maritime trade will rise dramatically because ships will not know where to sail safely.