What is IMO in Shipping?

IMO, or the International Maritime Organization, is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is the global regulatory body for setting standards related to the safety, security, and efficiency of international shipping. The organization is headquartered in Albert Embankment, Lambeth, London. As of 2020, the IMO comprises of 174 countries as member states.

The IMO is also responsible for overlooking the environmental performance of the shipping industry. Some important aspects that come under its purview are:

  • Ship design
  • Equipment and construction
  • Waste disposal and recycling of ships
  • Energy efficiency
  • Maritime law
  • Seafarers’ compensation and labor laws
  • Technology and innovation
  • Maritime education and training
  • Maritime traffic management
  • Security on international waters
  • Maritime infrastructure development
  • Prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution

Since its inception in 1948, the IMO and its sister-agency – the International Labour Organisation (ILO) – have crafted several internationally recognized agreements. Four key conventions have been established to enable the above functions of the IMO:

  1. SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea
  2. MARPOL – The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
  3. STCW – Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping
  4. MLC – Maritime Labour Convention

What are the 4 Pillars of IMO?

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the global standard setting body related to policy and procedures in the international maritime industry. Four key conventions have been crafted by it, along with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), to improve safety of lives at sea, and the protection of the maritime environment. These conventions are known as the 4 pillars of international maritime law. They are:

  1. SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea)

There are currently 14 chapters in the SOLAS convention including a range of regulations and codes, which specify the minimum safety standards for areas like:

  • Vessel construction
  • Ship design
  • Equipment and construction
  • Risk management procedures
  1. MARPOL (The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships)

MARPOL consists of 6 technical annexes related to the prevention of pollution from ships. This includes atmospheric, soil and water pollution.

  1. STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping)

The standards set up by STCW are applicable to all ships that are more than 24 meters in length, and for all crew members. These guidelines dictate the minimum qualification requirements for seafarers aboard a ship, including officers, masters and watch personnel.

  1. MLC (Maritime Law Convention)

The MLC 2006 is a comprehensive convention that specifies minimum working and living rights of seafarers. This includes their employment contracts, pay, leave entitlement, minimum hours of rest, career and skill development, and repatriation, among others.

At Sea About Something Related to Managing Rest Hours?

Get in touch with your questions

Contact Us