IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

As a specialized agency of the United Nations, 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.

In other words, its role is to create a level playing-field so that ship operators cannot address their financial issues by simply cutting corners and compromising on safety, security and environmental performance. This approach also encourages innovation and efficiency.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

International shipping transports about 90 per cent of global trade to peoples and communities all over the world. Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation for most goods; it provides a dependable, low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating commerce and helping to create prosperity among nations and peoples.

The world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry – and this is provided by the regulatory framework developed and maintained by IMO.

IMO measures cover all aspects of international shipping – including ship design, construction, equipment, manning, operation and disposal – to ensure that this vital sector for remains safe, environmentally sound, energy efficient and secure.

Shipping is an essential component of any program for future sustainable economic growth. Through IMO, the Organization’s Member States, civil society and the shipping industry are already working together to ensure a continued and strengthened contribution towards a green economy and growth in a sustainable manner. The promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development is one of the major priorities of IMO in the coming years.

Energy efficiency, new technology and innovation, maritime education and training, maritime security, maritime traffic management and the development of the maritime infrastructure: the development and implementation, through IMO, of global standards covering these and other issues will underpin IMO's commitment to provide the institutional framework necessary for a green and sustainable global maritime transportation system.

The following are some of the latest news from the IMO activities relating to the safety aspects of the shipping and maritime environmental protection:

31/07/2014 - amendments to mandatory instruments

16/07/2014 - Black Sea Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control - Concentrated inspection campaign on STCW Hours of Rest

09/07/2014 - Dubai - Control of air pollution from ships during port stay

04/07/2014 - Saba Bank Particularly Sensitive Sea Area

30/06/2014 - Standards for the traffic and permanence of vessels in Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters (NORMAM-08/DPC)

18/06/2014 - Republic of the Marshall Islands Office of the Maritime Administrator Ship Security Advisory No. 21-14 - Revised West Africa HRA and voluntary reporting area (VRA)

16/06/2014 - Rules for Steel Ships - Part A amendments - Class Notations

16/06/2014 - Rules for Steel Ships - Part A amendments - Classification and Surveys

12/06/2014 - USCG - NTVRP Interim Operating Authorizations expire on 31 July 2014

06/06/2014 - US - Vessel discharges FAQs


04/06/2014 - Standards for the operation of foreign-flagged vessels in Brazilian jurisdictional waters (NORMAM 04), 2013

28/05/2014 - COOK ISLANDS - New Requirements for Fire-Fighters' Outfits

13/05/2014 - USCG - Navigation safety equipment testing required for cruise ships

28/04/2014 - Counterfeit nautical charts and publications

18/04/2014 - USCG - Availability of adequate reception facilities

10/04/2014 - USCG - Failure of hand portable fire extinguisher

07/04/2014 - USCG - Fixed water-based local application fire-fighting systems

07/04/2014 - IMO MEPC 66 - Overview Report & Summary Reports

28/03/2014 - IMO STCW Circular 21 - Action to be taken in cases where seafarers do not carry certification required in accordance with regulation VI/6 of the STCW Convention and section A-VI/6, paragraphs 4 and 6 of the STCW Code after 1 January 2014

28/03/2014 - IMO STCW Circular 22 - Clarification on training and certification requirements for ship security officers and seafarers with designated security duties

17/03/2014 - IMO SSE 1 - Overview & Summary reports

13/03/2014 - MPA Singapore - MLC 2006 Issuance of Maritime Labor Certificates - Circular 07-2014

07/03/2014 - USCG - Unannounced examinations of cruise ships

19/02/2014 - Amendments to SOLAS Chapter III entering into force on 01.01.2015

14/02/2014 - IMO PPR 1 - Overview & Summary Reports

07/02/2014 - Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention - Adjustment to the Compliance Schedule

30/01/2014 - IMO SDC 1 - Overview & Summary reports

06/01/2014 - PANAMA CANAL - Vessel requirements - Revision

20/12/2013 - Adoption of new harmonized Common Structural Rules


Source: IMO Website