International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), East Asia Hydrographic Commission (EAHC)

IHOsmA NAMRIA vessel conducts a hydrographic survey along the proposed archipelagic sea lanes which the Philip- pines, as a Member State to the UN and signatory to the UNCLOS, is required to designate and reflect in charts. [BRPH Presbitero]
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented. The IMO headquarters is in London, United Kingdom. The IMO arose from the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, or IMCO which was established in 1948. In 1982, it was renamed as IMO, which entered into force as a UN Convention in 1958.

The International Hydrographic Bureau was established in 1921. It aims to support the safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment through coordination of the uniformity of nautical charts and documents of hydrographic offices, the adoption of reliable and efficient methods of hydrographic surveys and the development of the sciences of hydrography and oceanography. It was renamed as the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and was registered as a Convention with the UN in 1970. The IHO, as an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization, has its Secretariat in Monaco. The East Asia Hydrographic Commission (EAHC) is a regional hydrographic commission within the framework of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). It was established in 1971, on the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the EAHC under the initiative of China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Philippines and Thailand. Later, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei joined the Commission. The Permanent Secretariat of the EAHC is the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department of Japan. The IMO, IHO and EAHC have an interconnected relationship. All the three organizations focus on marine transportation and the protection of the marine environment. The IMO sets the requirements of enhancing safety of navigation. The IHO develops and adopts standards and guidance that ensure that the requirements of the IMO are satisfied.

The EAHC coordinates the activities of hydrographic offices in the East Asia Region to facilitate the mutual exchange of information regarding surveys, research, new developments and technical details related to hydrography. The nature of the Philippines as an archipelagic state makes it necessary for the country to be an active member of the IMO, IHO and EAHC.
Focal Office:
National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA)
IHO 1955 with the International Hydrographic Bureau
EAHC 1971 founding member
Focal Persons:
High Level
Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Tel. No. (632) 926 3011, 920 4301, 929 6626 loc 2258

Administrator, DENR-NAMRIA
Tel No. (632) 810 4831

Official Representative to IHO and EAHC
Director, Hydrography Branch/Chief Hydrographer, Hydrography Branch, DENR-NAMRIA
Tel No. (632) 241 3494
The Philippine Government is a Member State to the IHO, IMO and EAHC and is a Contracting Government to several UN treaties and IMO instruments. One of the IMO instruments in which the Philippines is a Contracting Government is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Regulation 9 Chapter V of SOLAS obliges Contracting Governments to ensure the provision of hydrographic and charting services. Therefore, the Philippines must provide the hydrographic services required of it. The SOLAS states that Contracting Governments undertake to ensure the greatest possible uniformity in charts and nautical publications and to take into account, whenever possible, relevant international resolutions and recommendations. The IMO identifies the IHO as the appropriate organization to adopt resolutions and recommendations regarding hydrographic services.
The official representative of each Member Government within the IHO is normally the National Hydrographer, or Director of Hydrography, who, together with their technical staff, meets at three-yearly intervals in Monaco for an IHO Assembly. The Assembly reviews the progress achieved by the Organization through its committees, sub-committees and working groups, and adopts the programmes to be pursued during the ensuing three-year period. A Secretary General and two Directors are elected to administer the work of the Organization during that time.
The Philippines is represented by different offices in the IMO depending on the Committee. NAMRIA participates in the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), and Sub-Committee on the Implementation of IMO Instruments (III).
Sources / Relevant Links:


Regulation 19 of the SOLAS requires all ships irrespective of size to have nautical charts and nautical publications to plan and display the ship's route for the intended voyage and to plot and monitor positions throughout the voyage. However, it also states that an electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) may be accepted.

NAMRIA has been continuously issuing nautical charts, coast pilot (sailing direction), list of lights, tide tables and other nautical publications. However, limited resources restrict its rate to adapt to the changing and increasing demand specially by e-navigation.
One of the changes is that paper charts are being replaced by the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) which displays Electronic Navigation Charts (ENC). The shift to e-navigation would mean ENCs will eventually replace paper charts. As of 2018, NAMRIA has published 28 Electronic Navigational Charts (ENC).

Some related projects are the following:
- Participation of NAMRIA Hydrographic Officer to the Group Training Course in Information Management for Maritime Activity and Disaster Prevention (recognized as Category B by the International Hydrographic Organization) in 2016-2018
- Implementation of the "Oceanographic and Hydrographic Infrastructure Enhancement to Support Maritime Safety and Mitigate Effects of Natural Disasters in the Philippines," Official Development Assistance from the Republic of Korea from 2015 to 2018.
- Participation in the International Centre for Electronic Navigational Charts Technical Conference (2016-2018).
This Page was updated on 21 December 2015 and will be updated on 07 December 2020
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