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International Maritime Organization - Conventions, Regulations and Publications by IMO for the Maritime Industry

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Established in 1948 and headquartered in London, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was created by a convention adopted at the UN Maritime Conference. The convention came into force on March 17, 1958. IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is tasked with improving the security and safety of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships.

The IMO is not responsible for enforcing their policies and, when a government accepts an IMO policy, it becomes a national law which is their responsibility to enforce. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry universally adopted and implemented. The IMO’s governing body - the Assembly - meets every two years with the first meeting in 1959 and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly.  

It deals with legal matters connected with international shipping, including liability and compensation regimes, as well as with facilitation of international maritime traffic. The IMO has more than 170 members and is headed by a secretary-general, who serves a four-year term and oversees a Secretariat staff of approximately 300. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical subcommittees.

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IMO Conventions, Regulations & Other Topics



IMO Conventions and Codes

  • STCW Convention: International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 as amended promotes safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the marine environment by establishing in common agreement international standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.
  • STCW Code: The STCW Code section contains mandatory provisions to which specific reference is made in the annex to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, as amended (STCW Convention).
  • SOLAS Convention: The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 (as amended) is an international maritime treaty. The main objective of the SOLAS Convention is to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety.
  • MARPOL Convention: The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

STCW Guide and Courses

  • STCW Guide for Seafarers: A complete guide to STCW for seafarers, education and training establishments, and other stake holders
  • IMO Model STCW Courses for Seafarers: STCW training and certification programs for seafarers in accordance with the IMO STCW convention.

Related Maritime Regulations

Maritime Law Education and Research

IMO Publications

imo publications

  • Ballast Water Management Convention and BWMS Code with Guidelines for Implementation, 2018 Edition.
  • Cargo Stowage and Securing (CSS) Code, 2011 Edition
  • Collision Regulations Convention (COLREGS), 2003 Edition
  • Control and Management of Ships' Biofouling
  • FSS Code - International Code for Fire Safety Systems: 2015 Edition
  • GMDSS - Global Maritime Distress and Safety System Manual - 2019 Edition
  • Guide to Maritime Security and the ISPS Code (2012 edition)
  • Guidelines for Ships Operating in Polar Waters
  • Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V, 2017 edition
  • IAMSAR Manual 2019 Edition
  • IBC Code - International Bulk Chemical
  • ICS - International Code of Signals
  • IMDG Code Supplement, 2018 Edition
  • IMDG Code, 2018 Edition (inc. Amdt 39-18) 2 volumes
  • IMO 2020: Consistent Implementation of MARPOL Annex VI, 2019 Edition
  • IMO International Convention on Load Lines, Consolidated Edition 2005
  • IMO Model Courses
  • IMO Polar Code
  • IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code): 2014
  • IMSBC Code and Supplement, 2018 Edition
  • International code on intact stability 2008
  • International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC 1972), 2014 Edition
  • International Medical Guide for Ships, Third Edition
  • International SafetyNET Manual, 2017 Edition
  • ISM Code & Guidelines, 2018 Edition
  • Life-Saving Appliances (Inc. LSA Code): 2017
  • MARPOL - How To Do It
  • MARPOL, Consolidated Edition 2017
  • NAVTEX Manual, 2017 Edition
  • OSV Chemical Code, 2018 Edition
  • Performance Standards for Shipborne Radiocommunications and Navigational Equipment
  • Procedures for Port State Control
  • Ships’ Routeing, 2019 Edition
  • Ships-Routeing-2020-Edition_9789280100495
  • SOLAS - Safety of Life at Sea: Consolidated Edition 2014
  • STCW 2017 Edition
  • Plus many more

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LAST UPDATED ON Jan 25, 2020