International Maritime Organization
Overview
 
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), was established in Geneva in 1948, and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. The IMCO name was changed to IMO in 1982.

Headquartered in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 with 169 Member States and three Associate Members.
Encyclopedia
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), formerly known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO), was established in Geneva in 1948, and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. The IMCO name was changed to IMO in 1982.

Headquartered in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, the IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 with 169 Member States and three Associate Members. The IMO's primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. IMO is governed by an Assembly of members and is financially administered by a Council of members elected from the Assembly. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical subcommittees. Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO. Observer status is granted to qualified non-governmental organizations.

The IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of its members. The secretariat is composed of a Secretary-General who is periodically elected by the Assembly, and various divisions such as those for marine safety, environmental protection, and a conference section.

History

IMCO was formed to fulfill a desire to bring the regulation of the safety of shipping into an international framework, for which the creation of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 provided an opportunity. Hitherto such international conventions had been initiated piecemeal, notably the Safety of Life at Sea Convention
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea is an international maritime safety treaty. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.- History :The first version of the...

 (SOLAS), first adopted in 1914 following the Titanic disaster. IMCO's first task was to update that Convention; the resulting 1960 Convention was subsequently recast and updated in 1974 and it is that Convention that has been subsequently modified and updated to adapt to changes in safety requirements and technology.

When IMCO began its operations in 1958 certain other pre-existing instruments were brought under its aegis, most notable the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil (OILPOL) 1954. Throughout its existence IMCO, renamed the IMO in 1982, has continued to produce new and updated instruments across a wide range of maritime issues covering not only safety of life and marine pollution but also encompassing safe navigation, search and rescue, wreck removal, tonnage measurement, liability and compensation, ship recycling, the training and certification of seafarers, and piracy. More recently SOLAS has been amended to bring an increased focus on maritime security through the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code
International Ship and Port Facility Security Code
The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies...

. The IMO has also increased its focus on air emissions from ships.

In 1983 the IMO established the World Maritime University
World Maritime University
World Maritime University was established in 1983 by the International Maritime Organization. It is located in Malmö, Sweden with campuses in Shanghai and Dalian, China....

 in Malmö, Sweden.

Membership

Members of the IMO are 170 of the UN members and the Cook Islands
Cook Islands
The Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand...

.

Associate members are: Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Macao
Mação
Mação is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 400.0 km² and a total population of 7,763 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of eight parishes, and is located in the Santarém District....

.

Non-members are: Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

, Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

, Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, Lesotho
Lesotho
Lesotho , officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country and enclave, surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It is just over in size with a population of approximately 2,067,000. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name...

, Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

, Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

, Micronesia
Micronesia
Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest....

, Nauru
Nauru
Nauru , officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, to the east. Nauru is the world's smallest republic, covering just...

, Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

, Niue
Niue
Niue , is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. It is commonly known as the "Rock of Polynesia", and inhabitants of the island call it "the Rock" for short. Niue is northeast of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga to the southwest, the Samoas to the northwest, and the Cook Islands to...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Swaziland
Swaziland
Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Swaziland , and sometimes called Ngwane or Swatini, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered to the north, south and west by South Africa, and to the east by Mozambique...

, Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, Vatican City
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

, Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

, and the states with limited recognition.

Legal instruments

IMO is the source of approximately 60 legal instruments that guide the regulatory development of its member states to improve safety at sea, facilitate trade among seafaring states and protect the maritime environment. The most well known is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea is an international maritime safety treaty. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.- History :The first version of the...

 (SOLAS).

IMO regularly enacts regulations, which are broadly enforced by national and local maritime authorities in member countries, such as the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 are published by the International Maritime Organization , and set out, inter alia, the "rules of the road" or navigation rules to be followed by ships and other vessels at sea in order to prevent collisions between two or more...

 (COLREG). The IMO has also enacted a Port State Control
Port State Control
Port State Control is the inspection of foreign ships in other national ports by PSC officers for the purpose of verifying that the competency of the master and officers on board, the condition of a ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international conventions Port State...

 (PSC) authority, allowing domestic maritime authorities such as coast guard
Coast guard
A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...

s to inspect foreign-flag ships calling at ports of the many port states. Memoranda of Understanding (protocols) were signed by some countries unifying Port State Control procedures among the signatories.

Current issues

Recent initiatives at the IMO have included amendments to SOLAS
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea is an international maritime safety treaty. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.- History :The first version of the...

, which upgraded fire protection standards on passenger ship
Passenger ship
A passenger ship is a ship whose primary function is to carry passengers. The category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodations for limited numbers of passengers, such as the ubiquitous twelve-passenger freighters once common on the seas in which the transport of passengers is...

s, the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW)
STCW
The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers , 1978 sets qualification standards for masters, officers and watch personnel on seagoing merchant ships. STCW was adopted in 1978 by conference at the International Maritime Organization in...

 which establishes basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers and to the Convention on the Prevention of Maritime Pollution (MARPOL 73/78
MARPOL 73/78
Marpol 73/78 is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978....

), which required double hulls on all tankers
Tanker (ship)
A tanker is a ship designed to transport liquids in bulk. Major types of tankship include the oil tanker, the chemical tanker, and the liquefied natural gas carrier.-Background:...

.

In December 2002, new amendments to the 1974 SOLAS Convention were enacted. These amendments gave rise to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code
International Ship and Port Facility Security Code
The International Ship and Port Facility Security Code is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention on minimum security arrangements for ships, ports and government agencies...

, which went into effect on 1 July 2004. The concept of the code is to provide layered and redundant defenses against smuggling, terrorism, piracy, stowaways, etc. The ISPS Code required most ships and port facilities engaged in international trade to establish and maintain strict security procedures as specified in ship and port specific Ship Security Plans and Port Facility Security Plans.

The IMO is also responsible for publishing the International Code of Signals
International Code of Signals
The International Code of Signals is an international system of signals and codes for use by vessels to communicate important messages regarding safety of navigation and related matters. Signals can be sent by flaghoist, signal lamp , flag semaphore, radiotelegraphy, and radiotelephony...

 for use between merchant and naval vessels.

The First Intersessional Meeting of IMO’s Working Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships took place in Oslo, Norway (23–27 June 2008), tasked with developing the technical basis for the reduction mechanisms that may form part of a future IMO regime to control greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 emissions from international shipping, and a draft of the actual reduction mechanisms themselves, for further consideration by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).

The IMO is pursuing an effort to harmonize information available to seafarers and shore-side traffic services called e-Navigation
E-Navigation
e-Navigation is a concept developed under the auspices of the UN's International Maritime Organization to bring about increased safety and security in commercial shipping through better organization of data on ships and on shore, and better data exchange and communication between the two...

. An e-Navigation strategy was ratified in 2005, and an implementation plan is being developed through three IMO sub-committees. The plan is expected to be completed in 2012.

The IMO has also served as a key partner and enabler of U.S. international and interagency efforts to establish Maritime Domain Awareness
Maritime domain awareness
Maritime domain awareness is defined as the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment. It is part of a US government interagency and international maritime security effort...

.

Governing bodies

The governing body of the International Maritime Organisation is the Assembly which meets every two years. In between Assembly sessions a Council, consisting of 40 Member States elected by the Assembly, acts as the governing body. The technical work of the International Maritime Organisation is carried out by a series of Committees. The Secretariat consists of some 300 international civil servants headed by a Secretary-General.

Secretary-General

The current Secretary-General is Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, elected for a four-year term on 18 June 2003. On 9 November 2006 at the ninety-seventh session of the IMO Council, Mr. Mitropoulos' mandate was renewed for a further four years until 31 December 2011.http://www.imo.org/Newsroom/mainframe.asp?topic_id=85

Previous Secretaries-General were:
  • 1959 Ove Nielsen (Denmark)
  • 1961 William Graham (United Kingdom; acting, following death of Mr Nielsen)
  • 1963 Jean Roulier (France)
  • 1968 Colin Goad (United Kingdom)
  • 1974 C P Srivastava (India)
  • 1990 William O'Neil (Canada)

Technical Committees

The technical work of the International Maritime Organisation is carried out by a series of Committees. This includes:
  • The Marine environment Protection Committee (MEPC)
  • The Legal Committee
  • The Technical Cooperation Committee, for capacity building
    Capacity building
    Capacity building also referred to as capacity development is a conceptual approach to development that focuses on understanding the obstacles that inhibit people, governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations from realizing their developmental goals while enhancing...

  • The Facilitation Committee, to simplify the documentation and formalities required in international shipping.

Maritime Safety Committee

It is regulated in the Article 28(b) of the Convention on the IMO:.
The Maritime Safety Committee is the most senior of these and is the main Technical Committee; it oversees the work of its nine sub-committees and initiates new topics. One broad topic it deals with is the effect of the human element on casualties
Casualty insurance
Casualty insurance, often equated to liability insurance, is used to describe an area of insurance not directly concerned with life insurance, health insurance, or property insurance. It is mainly used to describe the liability coverage of an individual or organization's for negligent acts or...

; this work has been put to all of the sub-committees, but meanwhile, the Maritime Safety Committee has developed a code for the management of ships which will ensure that agreed operational procedures are in place and followed by the ship and shore-side staff.

The work of the nine sub-committees is described by their titles, as follows:
  • Safety of navigation
  • Radio communications and, search and rescue
  • Standards of training and watch keeping
  • Ship design and equipment
  • Fire protection
    Fire protection
    Fire protection is the study and practice of mitigating the unwanted effects of fires. It involves the study of the behaviour, compartmentalisation, suppression and investigation of fire and its related emergencies, as well as the research and development, production, testing and application of...

  • Stability, load lines and fishing vessel safety
  • Flag state
    Flag State
    The flag state of a commercial vessel is the state under whose laws the vessel is registered or licensed.The flag state has the authority and responsibility to enforce regulations over vessels registered under its flag, including those relating to inspection, certification, and issuance of safety...

     implementation
  • Dangerous goods
    Dangerous goods
    Dangerous goods are solids, liquids, or gases that can harm people, other living organisms, property, or the environment. They are often subject to chemical regulations. "HazMat teams" are personnel specially trained to handle dangerous goods...

    , solid cargoes and containers
    Shipping container
    A shipping container is a container with strength suitable to withstand shipment, storage, and handling. Shipping containers range from large reusable steel boxes used for intermodal shipments to the ubiquitous corrugated boxes...

    .
  • Bulk liquids and gases


The sub-committees work on numerous topics, including, for example, improvements in the design of passenger ships and the requirements for the stowage and packaging of the vast range of dangerous goods carried by sea.

Resolutions

Resolution MSC.255(84) (adopted on 16 May 2008) adopts the Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident ( Casualty Investigation Code).

See also

  • IMO ship identification number
    IMO ship identification number
    The IMO ship identification number is made of the three letters "IMO" followed by the seven-digit number assigned to all ships by IHS Fairplay when constructed. This is a unique seven digit number that is assigned to propelled, sea-going merchant ships of 100 GT and above...

  • IMDG code
    IMDG code
    IMDG Code or International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code is accepted as an international guideline to the safe transportation or shipment of dangerous goods or hazardous materials by water on vessel. IMDG Code is intended to protect crew members and to prevent marine pollution in the safe...

     for the carriage of dangerous goods at sea
  • International Chamber of Shipping
    International Chamber of Shipping
    The International Chamber of Shipping is the world's principal shipping organisation, representing around 75% of the world’s merchant tonnage; through membership of national shipowners' associations, concerned with all regulatory, operational and legal issues....

  • International Lifeboat Federation
    International Lifeboat Federation
    The is a global organisation that unites and represents the world's operational marine rescue services, whether civilian or military - full-time or voluntary - large or small...

  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
    United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
    The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea , also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea , which took place from 1973 through 1982...

  • Standard Marine Communication Phrases
    Standard Marine Communication Phrases
    The Standard Marine Communication Phrases is a set of key phrases in the English language , supported by the international community for use at sea and developed by the International Maritime Organization...

     developed by the IMO, to improve safety at sea
  • e-Navigation concept
  • NAVAREA
    NAVAREA
    NAVAREAS are the geographic areas in which various governments are responsible for navigation and weather warnings.NAVAREAs are mentioned in International Maritime Organization Assembly Resolution A.706 adopted 6 November 1991....


Further reading

  • Mankabady, Samir. (1986). The International Maritime Organization. London: Routledge
    Routledge
    Routledge is a British publishing house which has operated under a succession of company names and latterly as an academic imprint. Its origins may be traced back to the 19th-century London bookseller George Routledge...

    . 10-ISBN 0-709-93591-9; 13-ISBN 978-0-709-93591-9
  • Nordquist, Myron H. and John Morton Moore. (1999). Current Maritime Issues and the International Maritime Organization. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
    Martinus Nijhoff Publishers
    Martinus Nijhoff Publishers is an imprint of Brill Publishers, dating back to the nineteenth century. Nijhoff's portfolio focuses on areas in Public International Law, Human Rights, on Humanitarian Law and increasingly on International Relations. Its annual publication program consists of over 20...

    . 10-ISBN 9-041-11293-6; 13-ISBN 978-9-041-11293-4 OCLC: 42652709

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK