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Government sets up UK Centre for Seabed Mapping


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Multibeam survey of seabed near Plymouth
Image source: UK Hydrographic Office

The UK government has announced the setting up of a UK Centre for Seabed Mapping (UK CSM) along with the publication of a new five-year maritime strategy.

It said the centre is aimed at improving the quantity and quality of seabed data and comes with an effort to strengthen capabilities in technology, innovation and cyber security.

The strategy, published jointly by a group of departments, replaces one from 2014 and addresses new and emerging risks facing the maritime sector.

The UK CSM will be administered by the UK Hydrographic Office – which also runs the Seabed Mapping Service – and has been registered as a UK government voluntary commitment to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

It will co-ordinate cross-government and industry collaboration seabed mapping to support security and environment objectives.

Building knowledge

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “Mankind has better maps of the surface of the moon and Mars than of our own ocean. To ensure the UK’s maritime security is based on informed and evidence based decisions, we must build our knowledge of this dynamic ocean frontier.”

The strategy states the government will support the maritime sector in building resilience against cyber attack with resilient systems and networks protect data.

Steps have already been taken with the Department for Transport – the competent authority for regulation of the sector – having adopted the use of the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) Cyber Assessment Framework. The department will continue to work with organisations on the issue after their assessments.

The document also emphasises the importance of organisations using tools provided by the NCSC, and says the government will update the 2017 Cyber Security Code of Practice for Ships.

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