International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Full Form and Focus Areas

IMO stands for International Maritime Organisation. The last name of the International Maritime Organisation was Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization. This organization belongs to United Nations, and IMO works as an agency that deals with shipping or cargo regulation. IMO was established to protect the seas from marine pollution and introduce more safety standards to the international shipping processes.

Features of IMO

  • IMO provides the set of safety and security measures for international shipping.
  • IMO proposes and implements strategies that help keep seas clean and marine life pollution-free to the maximum extent.
  • IMO is one directly responsible for imposing its policies on the public. The IMO proposes its policies, and if the government accepts the procedure, then it becomes the duty of the government to implement it in the form of national law.
  • IMO promotes the safety, security, and efficiency of ocean shipping worldwide.
  • IMO can be broadly understood as a policymaker that sets the policies to enhance shipping security and safety and environmental concerns.
  • IMO makes it difficult for those shipping companies who compromise safety and security for the fast extension of their business.
  • IMO welcomes innovations and new technologies in the field of international shipping.
  • IMO can facilitate legal aid and provides international maritime traffic.
  • The governing body of IMO is called the assembly.
  • There are 173 state members in the assembly of IMO.
  • The member’s meeting of the IMO assembly happens once in two years.
  • The work of assembly is to make a plan of action for making the policy.
  • It is making a proper financial budget that takes care of the financial requirement of IMO.
  • Conduct the elections to elect suitable candidates for the higher posts in IMO.

A glance in the history of IMO

The first meeting of IMO was held in 1959. IMO has the title of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). IMO is also considered an Intergovernmental Organisation (IGO).

  • The regulations for the improvement in the safety and security of international shipping are made by IMO.
  • IMO also looks at the legal issues regarding international shipping.
  • The proposal for the establishment of IMO was finalized in 1948 at a United Nations conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It took ten years to establish IMO, and in 1959, IMO started functioning.
  • The headquarters of IMO is located in London, United Kingdom.
  • The parent organization of IMO is United Nations Economic and Social Council.
  • The official website of IMO is

Committees of IMO

The work of IMO is organized between the five committees. These five committees are:

  1. Marine Environmental Protection Committee
  2. Facilitation Committee
  3. Technical Co-operation Committee
  4. Maritime Safety Committee
  5. Legal Committee

These five committees are further divided into seven sub-committees. Some of these sub-committees are:

  • A subcommittee of IMO on Navigation Communication, Search and Rescue
  • A subcommittee of IMO on Ship Design and Construction
  • A subcommittee of IMO on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers
  • A subcommittee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping

The governing body of IMO

Assembly is the body that governs the working and policies of IMO. Among all the member countries of IMO, 40 representative member countries are elected as the governing body.

IMO has its secretariat. The head of the IMO secretariat is known as Secretary-General.

The working committee of the IMO Secretariat has around 300 civil servants.

Secretary-General of IMO

The first Secretary-General of IMO named Ove Nielsen was from Denmark from 1959-to 1961. Indian representative named Chandrika Prasad Srivastava headed the IMO assembly as its Secretary-General of IMO from 1974-to 1989. The current Secretary-General of the IMO Assembly is from South Korea. The name of the current Secretary-General is Kitack Lim, and he was first appointed in 2016 and then reflected in 2019 till 2023.

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