The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) yesterday welcomed the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson CBE MP, to its Taunton headquarters.
The Secretary of State met with UKHO staff to talk about its role in supporting maritime navigation, safety, security and marine development around the UK and worldwide, and was given a tour of its new office.
As a leading hydrographic office and marine geospatial information agency, the UKHO plays a critical role in supporting the UK government’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and in fulfilling the Government’s obligation to provide navigational charts and publications to ships transiting UK waters.
Working with several UK and international partners, the UKHO also carries out work under government programmes such as the Overseas Territories Seabed Mapping Programme and the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme to improve global standards in safety, hydrography and navigation.
This includes collecting and processing marine geospatial data to help governments protect the environment, develop infrastructure (such as ports) and support disaster planning and resilience. These factors support the sustainable economic growth for coastal states across the world including Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, St Helena, Guyana, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.
Gavin Williamson CBE said: “For 200 years UKHO has been central to trade and commerce across the globe, supplying over 90% of the world’s ships with the products they need to navigate international waters safely.
“The UKHO embodies the spirit of a Global Britain – sharing the UK’s world-leading expertise to develop relationships and trade with partners around the world. With 95% of the UK’s trade carried by sea, the work done at this facility is vital to not only supporting safety of our ships but supporting the UK’s thriving ocean economy.”