International Maritime Organization, IMO held its first meeting in 1959. The IMO is one of the smallest of all UN agencies. The IMO is headquartered in London.


The IMO was established by a convention which entered into force in 1958. It provides a forum for international cooperation on rules and practices for safety at sea. The IMO

  • facilitates cooperation among governments on technical matters affecting international shipping
  • develops international treaties on maritime safety to achieve the highest level of maritime and environmental protection standards on a worldwide basis. 


The Assembly is the highest decision-making organ, consisting of all member states of the IMO. It holds its sessions every two years. The Assembly adopts the programme of work, the budget and recommendations. It also elects the Secretary-General as well as the Council members of the IMO.  

The Council, composed of thirty-two members elected for two years, is the principal organ between the Assembly sessions. The work is conducted through five committees supported by subcommittees. 


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Last modified: 2024-02-15