The present shipping Industry is governed by International Maritime Organization (IMO).
It is the United Nations’ agency which is specialized to improve the safety and security of shipping and also preventing marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.
The History of IMO
In the mid-19th century, there was a rapid increase in marine accidents and pollutions because of the industrial revolution and the rise of international trade.
But several governments decided to cooperate with each other and then together they proposed the United Nations the technical matters and also proposed a permanent International Maritime legal body to govern the industry.
Finally, United Nations realized the impact on the shipping industry because of the absence of a Maritime Legal Body, so in 1948 in an International Conference held in Geneva, they adopted a convention establishing IMO.
Then in 1958 IMO was entered into force as a new organization.
In the beginning, the convention was known as Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) later in 1982 the name was changed to IMO. Later they built the headquarters in London.
The purpose of IMO
The main purpose of IMO is to promote safe, secure, and eco-friendly shipping through cooperation among governments and also to implement practices relating to technical aspects that affect shipping and International trade.
It also has to encourage and facilitate the highest practicable matters that are the most concern such as Maritime safety, efficiency in Navigation, and prevention of Marine pollution among all the contracting governments. This organization also has the power to deal with any Legal administration related to International trade.
It also has to keep all existing and the previous conventions up to date.
The four pillars of IMO
In the present IMO is responsible for more than 50 conventions. But apart from that, there are four main conventions that are more important than others.
They are as follows:
- International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
- International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution (MARPOL)
- International Convention on Standards of Training, Certificate, and Watchkeeping (STCW)
- International Maritime Labor Convention (MLC)
These Conventions act as the backbone of the Shipping Industry. Also these are known as the four pillars that IMO rely on.
SOLAS is the International Convention which adopted for Maritime Safety.
MARPOL is the International Convention rules and regulations to follow to minimize Marine pollution.
STCW is the International Convention which was established to set minimum qualification standards for seafarers.
MLC is the convention provides rights of seafarers.