International Maritime Organization

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International Maritime Organization.
International Maritime Organization

IMO main building in London
Organization type Specialized agency
Abbreviation IMO, OMI
management Kitack Lim South Korea
Korea SouthSouth Korea 
Founded March 17, 1948
Headquarters London , UK
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
Upper organization United NationsU.N. United Nations

The International Maritime Organization ( Engl. International Maritime Organization , IMO ; . French Organization maritime international ) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in London . It was decided to found it in 1948, but the statutes, which were amended several times, did not come into force until 1958, and on January 13, 1959, they began operating. By 1982, she led the designation Intergovernmental Consultative Maritime Organization ( Engl. : Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization , IMCO ). Its members include 174 countries as full members of (2016) as well as associated members, the special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau of the People's Republic of China as well as the constitutionally to Denmark related Faroe Islands . The Federal Republic of Germany joined the IMO on January 7, 1959.

Tasks and funding

The IMO has set itself the goal:

  • to regulate all non-purely economic matters of merchant shipping internationally
  • the pollution to reduce by ships and to prevent all possible
  • to improve ship safety and the safety of shipping as a whole

The IMO's motto is: "Safe, protected and efficient shipping on clean seas". Until about two years ago the motto was “Safer Ships and Cleaner Seas”. The working languages ​​of the organization are English, French and Spanish, the other official languages ​​are Arabic, Chinese and Russian.

In order to enforce its policies, it works with other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations , particularly in environmental protection and in improving the living and working conditions of seafarers . Since its inception, the IMO has drawn up and regularly updated around 40 international conventions in order to achieve its goals. They deal, for example, with the professional qualifications and safety of the ship's crews (in particular the STCW Convention), the prevention of accidents (in particular the SOLAS Convention), the prevention and control of marine pollution from ships ( MARPOL Convention), improved search and Rescue measures in distress at sea and protection against piracy and terrorism (in particular the ISPS code as a new chapter XI-2 of the SOLAS Convention). The agreements that are binding under international law for the state concerned after they have been signed, ratified, accepted or acceded are supplemented by around 700 non-binding resolutions, codes and manuals, compliance with which facilitates international cooperation.

The budget is financed through staggered membership fees. The amount of the individual contributions is based on the share of the respective member state in world trade tonnage ; The main payers are (in that order) Panama , Liberia and the Bahamas .

To improve training and technical cooperation in 1983 in Malmö / Sweden , the world Schiffahrts University founded (World Maritime University). This project is voluntarily co-financed by the Swedish government.

The IMO specifies the time frame and a motto for the annual World Maritime Day . The IMO has set June 25th of each year as the Day of the Seafarer to express appreciation and gratitude to the seafarers.


  • The Assembly (Assembly) belong to the Member States. It meets every two years in November and determines the work program and budget of the organization.
  • The Council currently (2004) consists of 40 members who have a special interest in maritime shipping. It meets between meetings .
  • The Maritime Safety Committee (Maritime Safety Committee) belong to all members. It deals with technical security issues as needed.
  • The Legal Committee (Legal Committee) creates mainly maritime law standards and codes.
  • The Technical Cooperation Committee (Technical Cooperation Committee) deals with projects to support developing countries.
  • The Committee for the Protection of the Marine Environment (Maritime Environment Protection Committee MEPC) was founded in 1973 and deals with the growing problem of marine pollution . He / it acts as the Conference of the Parties , which can decide on modifications and additions to MARPOL .
  • The Committee for the Facilitation of International Maritime Transport (Facilitation Committee) was founded in 1991 to deal with questions relating to the standardization and simplification of the handling of ships, passengers and cargoes in foreign ports. It has been formally institutionalized since 2008.
  • The secretariat is an administrative body with around 300 members; it is led by the Secretary General of the IMO.

Secretary General

The current Secretary General is Kitack Lim (South Korea). His four-year term began on January 1, 2016. He succeeds Kōji Sekimizu , who held the post of Secretary General from 2012 to 2015.

Country of origin Surname Term of office
DenmarkDenmark Denmark Ove Nielsen 1959-1961
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom William Graham * 1961-1963
FranceFrance France Jean Roullier 1963-1967
United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom Colin Goad 1968-1973
IndiaIndia India Chandrika Prasad Srivastava 1974-1989
CanadaCanada Canada William A. O'Neil 1990-2004
GreeceGreece Greece Efthimios Mitropoulos 2004-2011
JapanJapan Japan Kōji Sekimizu 2012-2015
Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea Kitack Lim since 2016

* William Graham was acting general secretary after the death of Ove Nielsen until the end of the proposed term.

Member countries

174 countries are full members; 3 countries are associated members.

There are also many intergovernmental organizations with observer status and NGOs with consultative status .

See also

Web links

Commons : International Maritime Organization  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Personal Page Secretary-General. Retrieved October 10, 2016 .
  2. a b IMO press release. Retrieved January 30, 2012 : "Positional changes at IMO Secretariat"
  4. ^ Secretary-General's biography. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on October 19, 2009 ; Retrieved July 19, 2009 : “Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos of Greece is the seventh Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization "
  5. ^ Member States. In: International Maritime Organization, accessed August 9, 2019 .
  6. Intergovernmental Organizations which have concluded agreements of cooperation with IMO. In: International Maritime Organization, accessed August 9, 2019 .
  7. Non-Governmental international Organizations which have been granted consultative status with IMO. In: International Maritime Organization, accessed August 9, 2019 .

Coordinates: 51 ° 29 '24 "  N , 0 ° 7' 22"  W.