The hydrographic and survey services undertaken by the SA Navy hydrographic office have been recognised at national level with Cabinet this week approving the 2018 Hydrographic Bill that will see the SA Navy hydrographer in future known as the national hydrographer.
Part of the post-Cabinet statement issued this week reads “the introduction of the Hydrographic Bill of 2018 into Parliament will seek to recognise and grant legislative status to the office of the hydrographer which has been in existence in the Department of Defence (SA Navy) since the inception of hydrographic services in South Africa”.
“It will enable the hydrographer of the SA Navy to be recognised as the national hydrographer. It will ensure the provision of hydrographic services is formalised and enacted into law. This is in line with the International Maritime Organisation and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, an international maritime treaty that sets minimum safety standards in the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships.”
The current hydrographer is Captain Theo Stokes, former commanding officer of the Navy’s hydrographic and survey vessel, SAS Protea. Stokes took over from Captain Abri Kampfer, who was named first director of the International Hydrographic Organisation and took up the position in Monaco in September.
Kampfer was presented with the Alexander Dalrymple Award in 2009 by the UK Hydrographic Office for outstanding work in world hydrography.
Others who have held the position of SA Navy hydrographer are Commander J Dagleish, Commander RT Tripp, Captain JK Mallory, Commodore JC Walters, Captain JB de Wet, Captain CJH Wagenfeld, Captain NM Smit, Captain BH Teuteberg, Captain BD Law and Captain LD Reeder.
The SA Navy hydrographic office (SANHO) has been part and parcel of ensuring and supporting safe navigation at sea in the South African region since 1955. The office is recognised as the centre of hydrographic excellence in Africa by the international hydrographic community through its proven professional conduct, products, innovation and service.
SANHO is the national producer of paper charts, electronic navigational charts (ENCs) and publications, with a folio of 102 paper charts, 56 ENCs and nine publications. The mission of the SANHO is to meet national, defence and commercial customers’ needs for navigational charts and other hydrographic information, in support of safe navigation.
SANHO is based in Tokai, Cape Town, and comprises five sections – paper charting, electronic navigation charting, tidal, maritime safety information and nautical publication and detached survey operations and training.