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International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

4th December, 2023 International Relations

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

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  • India was re-elected to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council.


  • India was re-elected to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council with the highest tally.
  • India's re-election falls under the Category of 10 states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade.
  • India got 157 votes out of the 167.
  • The other countries in the category are Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The term of the council will be for the biennium 2024-25.


  • India's re-election with the highest tally in the election sustained an unbroken record of India's continuous service at IMO.
  • The highest votes are indicative of the government's determination to strengthen India's varied contributions to international maritime operations.

Moving Ahead

  • To enhance representation at IMO India aims at appointing permanent representatives at IMO London under the Maritime India Vision (MIV) 2030.
  • To enhance and garner maritime expertise for India, it is proposed that India should nominate at least 2 qualified candidates for the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Program at the IMO.
  • The Amrik Kaal Vision 2047 has also set goals to strengthen India’s global maritime presence.
  • There are 43 initiatives identified as part of Amrit Kaal Vision 2047 Action Plan of which, the key initiatives focus on
    • strengthening our global maritime presence which includes a dedicated IMO cell in India,
    • the appointment of a permanent representative at IMO headquarters, London,
    • implementation of BIMSTEC Master Plan,
    • creating a robust BIMSTEC institutional structure to ensure implementation of regional projects in a coordinated & timely manner etc.

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)


  • The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping.


  • The IMO was established following an agreement at a UN conference held in Geneva in 1948.
  • The IMO came into existence ten years later, meeting for the first time on 17 March 1958.


  • Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, IMO currently has 175 Member States and three Associate Members.


  • IMO oversees the maritime sector which in turn underpins international trade, transport, and all maritime activities.


  • The council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the assembly, for supervising the work of the organization.
  • Between sessions of the assembly, the council performs the functions of the assembly, except that of making recommendations to governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.

Functions of IMO

  • The major areas of concern that the International Maritime Organisation has been able to bring under regulation have been the prevention of accidents, setting up safety standards for ships and other vessels (including design and materials) for the member states to abide by, maintaining adherence to the established treaties of safety and security, prevention of pollution and other avoidable human disasters.
  • IMO also facilitates technical co-operation among member states, setting up an audition and monitoring scheme for these rules and standards and finally monitoring liabilities and compensation in case of breach of any of these regulations.
  • Thus, the International Maritime Organisation plays a crucial role in modern society’s progress toward a better and healthier commercial and transportation environment.

Pillars of IMO

  • The four pillars of IMO are the
    1. International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS),
    2. International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW),
    3. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and
    4. Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

Funding of the IMO

  • An assembly of members governs the IMO.
  • It is also financially administered by a member council elected from the assembly.
  • It has five committees and several technical sub-committees.

Members of the IMO

  • 175 nations are members of the IMO, headquartered in London, United Kingdom.
  • The Faroe Islands, Hong Kong (China), and Macau (China) are associate members of IMO.


Q. India's re-election with the highest tally in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council showcases an unbroken record of India's continuous service at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Elucidate.