The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has chartered two boats to survey the waters off Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac as part of the UK’s Overseas Territories Seabed Mapping Programme (OTSMP) commitments.
The survey data gathered will be used to produce more accurate navigation charts and guides, improving access for trade and tourism related industries and enabling a wider range of ships to safely call at the islands.
This information can also assist in infrastructure planning and development, improving resilience against forces of nature, and helping the Cayman Islands meet their international maritime obligations, including the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and elements of the Implementation of the IMO Instruments Code (IIIC).
Over a duration of three weeks in December, the high-resolution surveys will capture bathymetric information (seafloor features and depths), and as part of the survey, tidal observations and tidal stream measurements will also be taken.
The survey follows a technical assessment visit conducted by the UKHO in May 2017, where local stakeholders, such as the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI), Department of Environment and the Port Authority, identified a range of activities and requirements which determined the priority areas that required surveying.
Ian Davies, International Hydrographic Programme Manager at the UKHO, welcomed the survey, commenting:
“A good understanding of the ocean is increasingly important in continuing to help island territories realise their economic potential within their marine Exclusive Economic Zone, and for supporting disaster management and resilience against forces of nature. As Primary Charting Authority for the Cayman Islands, this programme gives the UKHO the chance to systematically survey the waters surrounding the islands, helping to ensure the territory is fulfilling its international maritime obligations.”