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The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has appointed Rear Admiral Peter Sparkes as its new Chief Executive and Accounting Officer. Sparkes will be leaving the Royal Navy to take up the role.

As Chief Executive, Sparkes will continue to lead the organisation’s important work in supporting safe, secure and thriving oceans. This includes UKHO’s vital work in support of Defence and merchant shipping.

Working in close collaboration with national and international partners, the organisation will also continue to develop ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions to support the responsible and sustainable use of the marine environment.

Commenting on his appointment, Sparkes said: “It is an enormous privilege to have been selected to be the UK Hydrographic Office’s permanent Chief Executive. I am delighted to be able to continue working with UKHO’s fantastic team, Defence and our allies, and our marine partners, to help safeguard our sea lanes and those operating in the maritime sector. Going forward, UKHO will continue to meet the evolving needs of mariners around the world, contributing fully to the development of the IHO’s second generation of electronic charting and digital services, the S-100 data standard.

As part of the Ministry of Defence, UKHO plays a key role in supporting the UK’s national security. Our teams will continue to provide defence partners with the decision support, data and expertise they need to conduct military operations.” We also join the international community in recognising that many of our vital marine environments are under threat from overexploitation and the damaging effects of climate change. On this, we will continue work with governments, NGOs and commercial partners to support the protection and sustainable use of our oceans.”

Sparkes joined UKHO as National Hydrographer in 2019 and was subsequently appointed as Acting Chief Executive in July 2020. Following his appointment as CEO, Rear Admiral Rhett Hatcher will assume the role of National Hydrographer.

In this role, Hatcher will work to improve the collection, standardisation and sharing of marine geospatial data through international collaboration.