International Maritime Organisation

In this article, Leepakshi Rajpal dsicusses IMO (International Maritime Organisation) and its importance.

International Maritime Organisations

Have you ever wondered how the trade in the international waters is done? Or what is it that keeps that trade functioning not leading to any conflict between the countries? Does the creation of the International Maritime Organisation represent another example of the hegemon character of the United Nations? What if in between the way, the oil is leaked? Who is to take jurisdiction over that matter and how is sustainable development being practiced in such a situation? The answer to all this is mentioned in the article.

The United Nations Agency is responsible for developing and adopting measures to improve the safety and security of the international shipping and to prevent pollution from the ships, the International Maritime Organisation has an integral role in meeting the targets set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, which was held in the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development.

When it comes to the shipping, it is one of the most essential components of any future programme for future sustainable economic growth. It is through the International Maritime Organisation, the organization’s member states, civil society, and the shipping industry are already working together to ensure a continued and strengthened contribution towards the green economy and the growth in a sustainable manner. The promotion of the sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development is one of the major priorities of the International Maritime Organisation in the upcoming years.

Much of the energy, efficiency, new technology and innovation, maritime education and training, maritime security, maritime traffic management and the development of the maritime infrastructure, all the planning and the development is done by the International Maritime Organisation, of global standards covering these and other issues depend upon the commitment of the International Maritime Organisation in providing the institutional framework necessary for a green and sustainable global maritime transportation system.

Now, what are the functions and what is the role of the International Maritime Organisation is to be seen in the following paragraphs.

How to Place your Bids for Procurement at the International Maritime Organisation

If you are interested in bidding for such an opportunity, you may please notify the International Maritime Organisation at [email protected] stating your tender reference and contact details.This process will allow them to include you as a bidder on their list and will also help you to get included in the updates and queries process during the tender process.

Career Opportunities at International Maritime Organisation

Who does not want to live a gala life, and travel the world while being on the job? So, the good news is that the International Maritime Organisation offers certain job opportunities that you may be interested in. You need to have an idea of how to apply in the International Maritime Organization and the process is mentioned below:-

Application Process

When applying for a post at IMO, please follow the procedure outlined below:

  1. Navigate to the Vacancy Notice you are interested in and read the criteria specified carefully.
  2. If you meet the criteria outlined, complete a Personal History Form (available in the related documents links on the right side menu). Clearly, indicate the Vacancy Notice number you are applying for. The Personal History Form will need to be signed.
  3. In all cases submit a Cover Letter stating your reasons for applying and a completed Personal History Form.

Now the question arises as to how do you submit your application and the answer to that is, Send your application electronically to [email protected]. Please do not submit your application via multiple routes. Because of the high volume of applications we receive, the International Maritime Organization regrets to inform the participants that only applications short-listed for vacant posts within the Organization will be acknowledged.

So, what are you waiting for, do apply for these posts and get yourself a better job and a good lifestyle with so many benefits and duties along.

The Role and The Functions Performed by the International Maritime Organisation

There are various functions and vital roles that the International Maritime Organisation plays as an organization as well as an International leader in the maritime department. The roles and the functions of the International Maritime Organisation are mentioned below.

Strategic Development and the high-level action plans

This means that the International Maritime Organisation always focusses on the highest possible standards in the maritime department and ensures the safety, security, efficiency and the ability to work in the maritime development. Apart from this it makes sure that the various mishappenings that take place in the sea waters or the international waters such as that of the pirates looting the ships and the ship’s sinking in the sea or the oceans due to the natural as well as the non natural factors, does not happen because any loss of life or property is a loss of a country or a continent in trade that the International Maritime Organisation is supervising or has the jurisdiction over.

In the year 2003, in order for the organization to effectively address those strategic objectives, a high-level action plan was also adopted by the International Maritime Organisation Assembly to identify the actions required to achieve its mission objectives and to provide for the linkage between the Organisation’s strategy and the work of its committees. The International Maritime Organisational Assembly, at its 25th session held in the year 2007 in November, reviewed the plans that the various countries had for trade through the International waters and adopted the Strategic Plan for the Organisation and a high-level action Plan for the Organisation and priorities for the 2008-2009 Biennium.

Safety of Passenger Ships

Safety of passenger ships means that the International Maritime Organisation has the responsibility and the function of ensuring the safety of the ships in the international waters. The safety of the ship does not only mean protecting from factors such as pirates and other things, it also includes other factors which have been mentioned below:-

  • Designing of the ships and the alternative designing and arrangements related to the danger thereto,
  • To mention the safe areas and the essential systems to be maintained while the ship proceeds to the port after a casualty, which will require redundancy of the propulsion and other essential things that the ship needs to carry while on the sail.
  • Onboard safety centers, from where the safety systems can be controlled, operated and monitored.
  • Fixed wire detection and the alarm systems in the ships including requirements for fire detector and manually operated call points to be capable of being remotely and individually identified.
  • Fire prevention, including amendments aimed at enhancing the fire safety of atriums, the means of escape in case of fire and the ventilation systems and
  • The time for orderly evacuation and abandonment, including requirements for the essential systems that must remain operational in case any one main vertical zone is unserviceable due to fire.

Goal-Based New Ship Construction Standards

This means that the International Maritime Organisations also have to set standards for the new ships before the making based on the loopholes in the previous ships and the renovation of the same. IMO also plans to determine the new hull construction standards for the new ships which are currently largely under the responsibility of the classification societies. The standards, once finalized, are intended to ensure that full standards developed by the classifications societies and other recognized organizations conform to the safety goals and the functional requirements established by the International Maritime Organisations. Therefore, it is an important role or a function that is performed by the organization.

Formal Safety Assessment

The safety assessment that the IMO does is according to the safety standards laid down by the same. In 2002, the MSC and the Marine environment Protection committee introduced a new methodology called Formal Safety Assessment, for its rulemaking process to incorporate risk assessment techniques that have been successfully used in several other industries such as the nuclear and the offshore industries.

FSA guidelines were approved by the MSC in 2002 and the guidelines have been routinely amended so as to catch up with the latest trends and the knowledge in the international market on the subject. The above committees are utilizing FSA process in the evaluation of the proposed new measures with a view to achieving a balance between the technical and operational issues, including the human element and between costs and benefits. Since 2002, FSA’s has been used in several cases by MSC. there were several guidelines which were added to them in the year 2006 but at present the MSC having received several new FSC studies submitted by the IMO member governments, agreed, in principle, to establish a group of experts to review these FSA studies for use in future rule-makings.

Human Element

International Maritime Organization also keeps into account the human element and maintains standards for the same and it does ensure that there is a human element in the working of the organization and the people who are engaged in the working of the ship, be it sailing or other operational issues are not faced with issues risking their lives. The International Maritime Organisation in this way maintains high standards of safety and environmental protection for the purpose of significantly reducing the maritime casualties.

Improving Maritime Technology Standards

There are certain standards which the International Maritime Organization as a part of its function have to perform, and improving the technological standards of the maritime. The technical standards of the SOLAS conventions with a view to keeping them updated with the latest marine technologies in the ship design. As such, the MSC routinely adopts numerous codes and guidelines to support matters related to fire safety, life-saving, marine equipment, stability and the carriage of dangerous goods and hazardous cargoes. Most merchant ships today are covered by the 1966 Load Lines Convention to establish international rules with respect to the limits to which ships may be loaded. In 1988, in order to facilitate the adoption of amendments related to the 1966  Load Lines Convention, IMO adopted the 1988 LL protocol, which harmonized the convention’s survey and certification requirement with those contained in SOLAS and MARPOL 73/78. IMO has developed in 1993, the Code on Intact Stability (IS Code) for all types of ships covered by IMO instruments and the MSC is currently revising the IS code to incorporate states of art knowledge, such as dynamic stability and the performance-based criteria. The regulations were made to bring in changes to the new ships and technology in force. The new regulations came into force in January 2009.

Investigation of the Maritime Casualties and Incidents

This means that the International Maritime Organization will have to check and investigate the casualties and the accidents happening in the midwaters or the international waters and also to ensure and facilitate the conduct of the investigations, analysis and reporting the accidents in accordance with the globally recognised best practices, with a view to maintaining an efficient and comprehensive knowledge-based mechanism to support the identification of trends and the International Maritime Organization rulemaking process. With this aim and within the framework of article 94.7 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and relevant provisions contained in the IMO conventions. They have developed a new code of International Standards and Recommended Practices for a safety investigation into the marine casualty or marine incident (Casualty Investigation Code), which is now under consideration for becoming mandatory under the SOLAS convention.

Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships

IMO also prevents attacks of piracy and armed robbery, to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea by adopting measures, including those relating to assistance with capacity-building through training of seafarers, port staff and enforcement personnel in the prevention, reporting and investigation of the incidents; bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice, in accordance with the international law; and by adopting national legislation as well as providing enforcement vessels and the equipment and guarding against fraudulent ship registration.

Charters Governing International Maritime Organisation

This part of the blog talks about the various charters that govern the International Maritime Organisation. The Convention on the International Maritime Organisation was prepared and opened for signature and acceptance by the United Nations Maritime Conference convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations pursuant to the Economic and Social Council resolution 35(IV). The conference met at Geneva from 19th February to 6th March 1948.

As a result of the entry into force of the amendments adopted by the IMCO assembly by its resolutions A.358 (IX) of 14th November 1975 and A.371 (X) of 9th November 1977.

The charter that ultimately governs the organization is The charter of the United Nations which was signed on the 26th June 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on the International Organisation, and came into force on 244th October 1945. The statute of the International Court of Justice is an integral part of the Charter.

Structure of International Maritime Organisation

The International Maritime Organization consists of an assembly, a council and five main committees, which are as follows:-

  1. The maritime safety committee
  2. The Marine Environment Protection Committee
  3. The legal committee
  4. The technical cooperation committee
  5. The facilitation committee

Apart from the main committees, there are certain subcommittees as well to assist the main five committees as mentioned above.


This is the highest governing body of the organization. IT consists of all the member states and it meets once every two years in regular sessions, but may also meet in an extraordinary session if necessary. The assembly is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the organization. The assembly also elects the council.


The council is a prestigious institution to be a part of. It is elected by the assembly for the two-year terms beginning after each regular session of the assembly. The council is executive organ of the International Maritime Organisation and is responsible, under the assembly for supervising the work of the organization. Between sessions of the assembly, the council performs all the functions of the assembly, except the function of making the recommendations to the governments on the maritime safety and pollution prevention which is reserved for the assembly by Article 15(j) of the convention.

Maritime Safety Committee (MSC)

The Maritime Safety Committee is the highest technical body of the organization. It consists of all the member states. The functions of the Maritime Safety Committee are to consider any matter within the scope of the organization concerned with the aids to navigation, construction and equipment of vessels, manning form a safety standpoint the rules for the prevention of the collisions, handling of the dangerous cargoes, maritime safety procedures and requirements that directly affect the maritime security.

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)

The Marine Environment Protection committee consists of all the member states of the international maritime organization, is empowered to take any decision with respect to the scope of the organization concerned with prevention and control of pollution from ships.In particular, it is concerned with the adoption and amendment of conventions and other regulations and measures to ensure their enforcement.The Marine Environment Protection Committee was established as a subsidiary body of the assembly but later on, in 1985 it was raised to the full constitutional status.


There are certain subcommittees that are made in the process. These subcommittees are also open to all the member states. These committees are as follows:-

  • Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training, and Watchkeeping (HTW);
  • Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III);
  • Sub-Committee on Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR);
  • Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR);
  • Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC);
  • Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE); and
  • Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC).

Legal Committee

The legal committee is always important as far as the efficient working of the organization is concerned. The legal committee is empowered to deal with the legal matters of the organization and helps in deciding the right way even out of the wrong way. The Committee consists of all Member States of IMO. The committee works together for the administration as well as the organization of the International Maritime Organization. The Legal Committee is also empowered to perform any duties within its scope which may be assigned by or under any other international instrument and accepted by the Organization.

Technical Cooperation Committee

The technical cooperation committee is required to consider any matter within the scope of the organization concerned with the implementation of the technical cooperation projects for which the organization acts as the executing or cooperating agency and any other matters related to the organization’s activities in the technical cooperation field. It also consists of all the member states of the international maritime cooperation, and was established in 1969 as a subsidiary body of the council and was institutionalized by means of an amendment to the International Marie Organisation Convention which entered into force in 1984.

Facilitation Committee

The facilitation committee was established as a subsidiary body of the Council in May 1972 and became fully institutionalized in December 2008 as the result of an amendment of the International Maritime organization at their own convention. It consists of all the member states of the organization and deals with International Maritime Organization’s work in eliminating unnecessary formalities and the red tape in international shipping by implementing all the aspects of the convention on facilitation of the International Maritime Traffic 1965 and any matter within the scope of the IMO and international maritime traffic. To be specific the work of this committee has been to ensure the right balance between the maritime security and the facilitation of the international maritime trade.


Who does not want to be a part of the Secretariat of the International Maritime Organisation, and especially when there are career opportunities open in this institution, why cannot we target it. For now, let us know the current number of members of the secretariat. The Secretariat IMO consists of the Secretary-General and some 300 international personnel based at the headquarters of the Organization in London. The Secretary-General of the Organization is Mr. Kitack Lim (Republic of Korea) who was appointed to the position with effect from 1 January 2016, for an initial four-year term.


Now that we know about International Maritime Organisation, let us be careful with the trade practices in the sea and in the international waters. Therefore, be careful and apply in the organization because it is a wonderful opportunity for everyone who feels to serve the world as a family and for everyone who desires to be a part of the prestigious organization.




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