IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Shipping is perhaps the most international of the world's industries, serving more than 90 per cent of global trade by carrying huge quantities of cargo cost effectively, cleanly and safely.The ownership and management chain surrounding any ship can embrace many countries and ships spend their economic life moving between different jurisdictions, often far from the country of registry. There is, therefore, a need for international standards to regulate shipping - which can be adopted and accepted by all. The first maritime treaties date back to the 19th century. Later, the Titanic disaster of 1912 spawned the first international safety of life at sea - SOLAS - convention, still the most important treaty addressing maritime safety. (more)
International memorial to seafarers
In September 2001 the international memorial to the world’s seafarers, past, present and future, was unveiled at IMO Headquarters. The memorial, a seven-metre high, ten-tonne bronze representation of the bow of a cargo ship with a lone seafarer on the deck, is the work of internationally renowned sculptor Michael Sandle. Its dramatic configuration and massive scale have transformed the front of the IMO building and created a major London landmark on the Thames riverfront.
Brief history of IMOIt has always been recognized that the best way of improving safety at sea is by developing international regulations that are followed by all shipping nations and from the mid-19th century onwards a number of such treaties were adopted. Several countries proposed that a permanent international body should be established to promote maritime safety more effectively, but it was not until the establishment of the United Nations itself that these hopes were realized. In 1948 an international conference in Geneva adopted a convention formally establishing IMO (the original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, or IMCO, but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO).