Malaysia has placed priority on mapping its seabed for better utilisation of the country’s maritime resources and security.
Speaking at the 10th General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (Gebco) Bathymetric Science Day 2015 on 5 October, Malaysia’s deputy defence minister Mohd Johari Baharum stressed on the importance of funding and procurement of bathymetric equipment.
He also identified the crucial role seabed mapping plays, as 95% of Malaysia’s international trade is carried through the oceans via its international seaports.
“Bathymetry is vital to the nation’s economy. Safety of navigation, tourism, and exploration of mineral resources, as well as ensuring security and sovereignty of maritime areas rely on bathymetric data,” explained Mohd Johari.
He stressed that bathymetry is a long-term process, which must be continued despite changes in the ministerial posts.
“Plans are usually changed whenever a new minister takes over the portfolio. This is one reason why some programmes have fallen short of their mark,” he added.
Malaysia will collaborate with Gebco for the mapping effort.
Gebco operates under the joint auspices of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Com-mission of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the International Hydrographic Organization.