WMO has signed an agreement with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the provision of maritime safety information to protect lives at sea.
A Memorandum of Understanding, signed on 7 October, commits the two organizations to coordinate activities related to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), in support of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. These are two of the main instruments designed to improve the safety of merchant shipping.
The hazards of extreme weather at sea was underlined by the loss of the U.S. cargo ship, El Faro, and its 33 crew members near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin at the start of October.
WMO works very closely with both the IHO and the International Maritime Organization to provide the Worldwide Navigational Warning Service and coastal warnings, as well as the Worldwide Metocean Information and Warnings Service. Both are vital components of the GMDSS.
The International Hydrographic Organization coordinates the activities of national hydrographic offices, works for the greatest possible uniformity in nautical charts and documents and promotion of reliable methods of carrying out and exploiting hydrographic surveys
The memorandum was signed by WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and IHO President Robert Ward.