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% of the ocean seafloor has been mapped. Therefore, BIMCO supports the Seabed 2030 initiative and encourages the industry to contribute with input to the project via an online survey.
In addition to the importance of fundamental knowledge of the seafloor, seabed mapping is equally important from an industry point of view for infrastructure construction and maintenance, cable and pipeline routing and – of course – navigating our ships. A coordinated 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’.
Towards the Definitive Map of the World Ocean Floor by 2030
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 metres, 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.
If you would like to contribute to the project, please access the survey here.