The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations with 168 Member States and three Associate Members. The IMO was first established by convention in 1948 and held its first meeting in1959. IMOs main task has been to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping that includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. The IMO is based in the United Kingdom with around 300 international staff. IMOs specialized committees and sub-committees are the focus for the technical work to update existing legislation or develop and adopt new regulations, with meetings attended by maritime experts from Member Governments, together with those from interested intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The result is a comprehensive body of international conventions, supported by hundreds of recommendations governing every facet of shipping. The conventions include key treaties such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) for the prevention of accidents, including standards for ship design, construction, equipment, operation and manning, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) for the prevention of pollution by ships, and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), for the standards of training for seafarers.
More information about the International Maritime Organization.
World Maritime Day is celebrated at the IMO's headquarters in London, England.