Ensuring the safety of the sea is crucial to the South African Navy because it is an important passageway for our country, our neighbours and the continent, says Rear Admiral Moseou Magalefa.
Speaking at the world hydrography banquet at the Durban ICC on Saturday, Magalefa said the sea lines of communication are the lifeline of our economies, be they coastal or landlocked, because the majority of countries' imports and exports are transported by sea. He said criminal activities remain a challenge for most countries.
"The safe passage of the mariners is therefore essential and requires capable maritime resources to ensure maritime security at sea.
"The challenges globally faced at sea include criminal activities such as poaching, arms and drug smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and sea robbery," said Magalefa.
Such activities have an adverse effect on economies and the wellbeing of people who depend on the sea for their livelihood.
"By effectively and collectively exercising sea control these activities can be eradicated and result in safety at sea and prosperity for our people."
Magalefa urged South Africans to encourage young men and women of all races "to heed the call of the sea" and join the South African Navy.
Hydrography is the science of conducting surveys of our coastal and inland waters so that charts are updated to ensure the safe navigation of all mariners.
The navy has been in this business since 1922 and the hydrographic office, comprising a small team of experts, is situated at Silvermine in the Western Cape.
The South African office is one of the 78 member nations of the International Hydrographic Organisation.