Copenhague – Knowing the depth and shape of the seafloor (bathymetry) is fundamental for our understanding of ocean circulation, tides, sediment transport and environmental change. Currently, and despite many years of effort, less than 20 per cent of the ocean seafloor has been mapped. Therefore, BIMCO supports the Seabed 2030 initiative and encourages the industry to contribute with input into the project via an online survey.
In addition to the importance of fundamental knowledge of the seafloor, from an industry point of view, seabed mapping is equally important for infrastructure construction and maintenance, cable and pipeline routing and – of course – navigating our ships. A co-ordinated international effort is needed to bring together all existing data sets and to identify areas for future surveys – in other words, to ‘map the gaps’.
BIMCO supports the Seabed 2030 initiative, which is a collaborative project between the Nippon Foundation of Japan and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), operating under the joint auspices of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.
The project aims to bring together all available bathymetric data to produce the definitive map of the world ocean floor by 2030 and make it freely available to all. Initial efforts will focus on mapping the 93% of the ocean deeper than 200 meters, leaving national hydrographic agencies to cover waters closer to shore.
The project was launched at the United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in June 2017 and is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
Completing a modern map of the seafloor will be a turning point in our understanding of oceanic processes and resources, providing a major change in our ability to sustainably manage our oceans and marine hazards.
The Seabed 2030 project is seeking views from across the marine and maritime sector via an online survey. The aim is to corroborate – or challenge – existing thinking, and hopefully identify any areas of the seabed that may benefit from a more collaborative approach.
BIMCO is the world’s largest direct-membership organisation for shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers and agents. In total, around 60% of the world’s merchant fleet is a BIMCO member, measured by tonnage.