IMO / Solas – Marpol

INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION ( IMO ) :-

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. The IMO was established in Geneva in 1948 and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO has 171 Member States and three Associate Members .

The IMO's primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. IMO is governed by an assembly of members and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical subcommittees.

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SOLAS AND MARPOL

Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) was formed to fulfill a desire to bring the regulation of the safety of shipping into an international framework, for which the creation of the United Nations provided an opportunity. Hitherto such international conventions had been initiated piecemeal, notably the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), first adopted in 1914 following the Titanic disaster. IMCO's first task was to update that Convention; the resulting 1960 Convention was subsequently recast and updated in 1974 and it is that Convention that has been subsequently modified and updated to adapt to changes in safety requirements and technology.

- MARPOL 73/78

IMO held an emergency session of its Council to deal with the need to readdress regulations pertaining to maritime pollution. In 1969, the IMO Assembly decided to host an international gathering in 1973 dedicated to this issue.  The goal at hand was to develop an international agreement for controlling general environmental contamination by ships when out at sea.

During the next few years IMO brought to the forefront a series of measures designed to prevent large ship accidents and to minimize their effects. It also detailed how to deal with the environmental threat caused by routine ship duties such as the cleaning of oil cargo tanks or the disposal of engine room wastes. Interestingly enough in terms of tonnage the afore-mentioned was a bigger problem than accidental pollution.

The most significant thing to come out of this conference was the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973. It covers not only accidental and operational oil pollution but also different types of pollution by chemicals, goods in packaged form, sewage, garbage and air pollution .

The original MARPOL was signed on 17 February 1973, but did not come into force due to lack of ratifications. The current convention is a combination of 1973 Convention and the 1978 Protocol. It entered into force on 2 October 1983. As of May 2013, 152 states, representing 99.2 per cent of the world's shipping tonnage, are involved in the convention .