APHoMSA: Asia-Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies


The Asia-Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies forum was created as an informal entity on 1 May 1996.

At the 14th session of APHoMSA, held in Cairns in 2014, it was agreed APHoMSA would have a defined membership and agreed strategy to address maritime issues of regional importance.

APHoMSA’s work is built around four pillars:

  1. Regional Cooperation
  2. Protecting the Marine Environment
  3. Safety at Sea, Including Seafarer Welfare
  4. Maritime Incident Response.

APHoMSA currently has 26 Members and eight Standing Observer organisations.

Membership to APHoMSA is open to all Pacific Rim countries and territories by the invitation and agreement of existing Members.

About the Pacific Region

The Pacific Ocean is 165.25 million square kilometres in area. It covers about 46 per cent of the Earth's water surface and about one-third of its total surface area, making it larger than all of the Earth's land area combined.

The Pacific is one of the most important shipping regions in the world. Countries bordering the Pacific make up approximately half the world’s population and more than half of the world’s economic activity. Sixteen of the world's top twenty countries for container port activity are in Asia, of which eight ports are in China.

Extending approximately 15,500 kilometres from the Bering Sea in the Arctic to the northern extent of the circumpolar Southern Ocean at 60°S, the Pacific reaches its greatest east-west width at about 5°N latitude, where it stretches approximately 19,800 kilometres from Indonesia to the coast of Colombia.

Along the Pacific Ocean's western margins lie many seas, the largest of which are the Celebes Sea, Coral Sea, East China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, Sulu Sea, Tasman Sea, and Yellow Sea. The Strait of Malacca joins the Pacific and the Indian Oceans on the west, and Drake Passage and the Strait of Magellan link the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean on the east. To the north, the Bering Strait connects the Pacific with the Arctic Ocean.

The following Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs) are within the Pacific Ocean and have been recognised by the International Maritime Organization:

  • The Great Barrier Reef, Australia (1990) and extension of the existing Great Barrier Reef PSSA to include the Torres Strait (2005)
  • Malpelo Island, Colombia (2002)
  • Paracas National Reserve, Peru (2003)
  • The Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador (2005)
  • Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, United States of America (2007)