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25 November 2014 - The Philippine Embassy in London reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that His Excellency Enrique A. Manalo, Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, was elected chairman of the 23rd Session of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) Assembly in London today by an overwhelming majority of delegations.

Ambassador Manalo was nominated by the representative of Monaco, Madame Armelle Roudaut-Lafon, Director for Maritime Affairs, citing his exemplary diplomatic experience in chairing international meetings. His nomination was seconded by China, Malaysia, Spain, the Marshall Islands, Poland, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Republic of Korea, Oman, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Liberia and Argentina.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) plays host to the 23rd Session of the IMSO Assembly from 25 to 28 November 2014. Ambassador Manalo, who is currently the Philippine Permanent Representative to the IMO, chairs the 99-member state Assembly which meets biennially. The Assembly will elect the new IMSO Director General who will take over from Director General Esteban Pacha-Vicente of Spain.

Established in 1979, the IMSO is the intergovernmental organization that oversees certain public satellite safety and security communication services, such as the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and the Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships (LRIT) system.

GMDSS ensures timely response of search-and-rescue teams to ships in distress while the LRIT system allows the identification and tracking of merchant ships in addressing security concerns, among others. As the largest nationality of seafarers, the Philippines benefits greatly from these mobile satellite communication systems.