The International Maritime Organisation IMO wwwimoorg

The first international initiative in safety was hastened by the public outcry that followed the loss of the Titanic. It was recognised that the best way of improving safety at sea was by developing sound regulations to be followed by all shipping nations. However, it was not until 1948 that the United Nations Maritime Conference adopted the Convention on the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO). The Convention came into force in 1958 and in 1959 a permanent body was set up in London. In 1982 the name was changed to IMO. IMO now represents nearly 160 maritime nations. A great deal of information about the structure of IMO, its conventions and other initiatives will be found on its web site.

Apart from safety of life at sea, the organisation is concerned with facilitating international traffic, load lines, the carriage of dangerous cargoes and pollution. Safety matters concern not only the ship but also the crew, including the standards of training and certification. IMO has an Assembly which meets every 2 years and between assemblies


the organisation is administered by a Council. Its technical work is conducted by a number of committees. It has promoted the adoption of some 30 Conventions and Protocols and of some 700 Codes and Recommendations related to maritime safety and the prevention of pollution. Amongst the conventions are the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) and the International Convention on Load Lines, and the Convention on Marine Pollution (MARPOL). The benefits that can accrue from satellites particularly as regards the transmission and receipt of distress messages, were covered by the International Convention on the International Maritime Satellite Organisation (INMARSAT). The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System is now operative. It ensures assistance to any ship in distress anywhere in the world. All the conventions and protocols are reviewed regularly to reflect the latest experience at sea. Although much of the legislation is in reaction to problems encountered, the organisation is increasingly adopting a pro-active policy.

By its nature the bringing into force of some new, or a change to an existing, convention is a long process. When a problem is recognised and agreed by the Assembly or Council, the relevant committee must consider it in detail and draw up proposals for dealing with it. A draft proposal must then be considered and discussed by all interested parties. An amended version is, in due course, adopted and sent to governments. Before coming into force the convention must be ratified by those governments who accept it and who are then bound by its conditions. Usually a new convention comes into force about 5 years after it is adopted by IMO. Most maritime countries have ratified IMO's conventions, some of which apply to more than 98 per cent of the world's merchant tonnage.

Although the governments that ratify conventions are responsible for their implementation in ships which fly their flag, it becomes the responsibility of owners to ensure that their ships meet IMO standards. The International Safety Management (ISM) Code which came into force in 1998 is meant to ensure they do, by requiring them to produce documents specifying that their ships do meet the requirements. Port State Control (PSC) gives a country a right to inspect ships not registered in that country. The ships can be detained if their condition and equipment are not in accord with international regulations or if they are not manned and operated in compliance with those rules. That is, if they are found to be sub-standard or unsafe. Since a ship may well visit several ports in an area it is advantageous if port authorities in that area co-operate. IMO has encouraged the establishment of regional PSC organisations. One region is Europe and the north Atlantic; another Asia and the Pacific.

Much of the regulation agreed with IMO requires certificates to show that the requirements of the various instruments have been met.


In many cases this involves a survey which may mean the ship being out of service for several days. To reduce the problems caused by different survey dates and periods between surveys, IMO introduced in 2000 a harmonised system of ship survey and certification. This covers survey and certification requirements of the conventions on safety of life at sea, load lines, pollution and a number of codes covering the carriage of dangerous substances. Briefly the harmonised system provides a 1-year standard survey interval, some flexibility in timing of surveys, dispensations to suit the operational program of the ship and maximum validity periods of 5 years for cargo ships and 1 year for passenger ships. The main changes to the SOLAS and Load Line Conventions are that annual inspections are made mandatory for cargo ships with unscheduled inspections discontinued.

SOLAS and the Collision Regulations (COLREGS) require ships to comply with rules on design, construction and equipment. SOLAS coverage includes life saving equipment, both the survival craft (lifeboats and liferafts) and personal (life jackets and immersion suits). Numbers of such equipments are stated on the Safety Certificate.

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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