The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), which was founded in Monaco at the initiative of Prince Albert I, celebrated its centenary on Monday 21 June.
On World Hydrography Day, the organisation’s 94 member states gathered in person at the IHO’s Monegasque headquarters and virtually, with a broadcast of speeches by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Dr Mathias Jonas, the IHO Secretary-General, Engineer General Laurent Kerléguer, Director-General of the French Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOM), and H.E. Peter Thomson, the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean. You can watch the broadcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v4ckQ460Kw
The celebrations provided an opportunity for the IHO to look back at the major discoveries which have improved our understanding of the oceans, shipping routes and the discussions that have taken place between nations over the last century, before turning towards the future and the new prospects opened up by autonomous vessels and big data processing using artificial intelligence. A plaque commemorating Prince Albert I was unveiled and the ceremony included demonstrations of autonomous vessels and drones such as the surface vessel DriX from iXblue or the underwater vehicle A18D from ECA. The Italian navy’s training ship Amerigo Vespucci, which hosted the officials in attendance for lunch, provided a link between the past and the future, as it is one of the three oldest three-masted sailing ships in the world and was designated Ambassador for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
At 2 p.m., a webinar bringing together representatives from the IHO, partner organisations and industry tackled the issues of ocean conservation and the role of women in this sector. The list of participants is available at: https://iho.int/en/iho-100-years.