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New Martime Chart to Improve Port Safety, Help Economic Growth for Sao Tome and Principe
The U.S. and Portuguese navies have helped the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe to update 44-year-old navigation charts of its principal harbor to improve shipping safety and help attract more commercial maritime trade.<br />
The U.S. and Portuguese navies have helped the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe to update 44-year-old navigation charts of its principal harbor to improve shipping safety and help attract more commercial maritime trade.



On March 14, 2008, Captain John Nowell, commander of Africa Partnership Station (APS), presented a chart of the port of Baia de Ana Chaves, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (STP), to Lieutenant Colonel Idalecio Pachirre, commander of the Armed Forces, and Lieutenant Colonel Justino Lima, commander of the Sao Tome and Principe Coast Guard.



The chart was compiled from information gathered by the Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC) and Fleet Survey Team (FST) with the cooperation of Portugal Naval Officer Lieutenant Alexandre Carvalho.



Carvalho acted as the Portuguese Navy Hydrographic Liaison for the initial two weeks of the survey. This encompassed the vessel setup and calibration phase of the survey. He provided integral interpreter services, previous Portuguese survey data and charts of the area, and assisted in the vessel setup.



The team began conducting surveys of the port September 21, 2007 and completed work November 19, 2007. Using side scan sonar, sound velocity, photographs of navigation aids, and other techniques, the team gathered the necessary information to complete the chart.



The current U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) charts are based on surveys from 1964. Since the ocean floor changes over time, the accuracy of those charts may not be reliable. The new and updated chart will allow ships to legally and safely enter the port.



"The idea is to share the information with the Portuguese, who are the charting authority for STP," said Lieutenant Catherine Williams, NMOC representative to APS. "The Portuguese will also use these charts to enter the port."



The underlying motivation for producing these updated charts is for Sao Tome and Principe to publish them so that the merchant community can start to come to the port and initiate trade. Merchant ships will most often not enter a port when they do not have accurate charts.



"If youuâ?re an island nation like STP, you will have trouble getting foreign trade and investment going which hinders economic growth," Williams said. On the surface, this is helpful for the Coast Guard and military of Sao Tome and Principe, but more importantly, the charts will contribute to the economic well being of the country.



Part of the U.S. Navy's Global Fleet Station, APS provides a platform with the capacity and persistent presence to support sustained, focused training and collaboration on a regional scale to maritime partners in West and Central Africa. Commander Task Force 365 and training teams from various U.S. and European military commands, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations are embarked on board Fort McHenry to enhance cooperative partnerships.
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