The Royal Navy’s leading Operational Commander visited the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) Friday, March 27, to see the navigational services and charts that the organisation provides at first hand.
The Commander-in-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET), Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope KCB OBE, is responsible for delivering the Fleet Operational Capability. This includes the operation, resourcing and training of the Royal Navy’s ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel including the Royal Marines. A submarine specialist, he is no stranger to the output of the UKHO from his time in an earlier appointment as the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, which brought him into regular contact with UKHO.
Admiral Sir Mark’s visit was also timely as he will assume the role of First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff in the summer and at that time will become the professional Head of the Navy.
His visit included an update briefing on the latest information and development plans for UKHO’s maritime services and products that were illustrated during a tour of the facilities and meetings with staff. Areas highlighted to him included UKHO’s flaghsip electronic chart service the Admiralty Vector Chart Service, which was launched last year, the production and delivery programme for paper and digital services and the national hydrographic database, which UKHO is developing as a single source point for all navigational data storage and retrieval.
A key objective placed on the UKHO is “To deliver the Hydrographic Services which enable the Royal Navy and other UK Defence forces to meet the current and potential operational tasks” so not suprisingly, CINCFLEET, spent a significant part of the visit looking at the receet work within the Defence section.
On completion of his visit, Admiral Sir Mark, said, “I never cease to be impressed with the UKHO output, contribution and what it has delivered consistently for the past 214 years. In particular I am delighted to see the innovative way in which the staff are handling the transition to digitally presented and delivered services that will not only improve the navigational safety for all mariners but the operational support to the Royal Navy in particular.”
UK National Hydrographer, Rear Admiral Ian Moncrieff, said, “This has been a valuable visit. It is always a delight to have our prime user on site and to have the CINCFLEET’s perspective alongside the opportunity for our staff to demonstrate how we are meeting mariners requirements and our plans for the future.”