International Maritime Organization

  • IMO (headquartered in London) is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

  • IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping.

  • Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

  • IMO is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated SDGs. Indeed, most of the elements of the 2030 Agenda will only be realized with a sustainable transport sector supporting world trade and facilitating global economy.

  • In 1948 an international conference in Geneva adopted a convention formally establishing IMO (the original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, or IMCO, but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO). The IMO Convention entered into force in 1958 and the new Organization met for the first time the following year.

  • IMO’s first task was to adopt a new version of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS; first adopted in 1914 following the Titanic disaster), the most important of all treaties dealing with maritime safety.

  • IMO introduced a series of measures designed to prevent tanker accidents and to minimize their consequences. The most important of all these measures was the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78). It covers not only accidental and operational oil pollution but also pollution by chemicals, goods in packaged form, sewage, garbage, and air pollution.

  • IMO recently mandated a new rule for national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports.
  • The rule seeks to make cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient.

  • The requirement, mandatory under IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention), is part of amendments under the revised Annex to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016.

  • Adopted in 1965, the main objective of the convention is to achieve the most efficient maritime transport as possible, looking for smooth transit in ports of ships, cargo, and passengers.

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