About Us

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. IMO’s role is to develop international regulations and standards aimed at making shipping safe across the world’s oceans and minimizing any possible pollution from ships.

The IMO Emblem

The United Nations Emblem

IMO’s headquarters are in London, United Kingdom. Some 173 countries make up IMO’s Member States.

IMO’s role is to develop the standards and regulations for the 50,000 large ships which carry goods and people across the seas. The Member States send representatives to meetings at IMO in London to discuss and decide on the regulations which are needed. Once they all agree, the regulations can be adopted and put in place.

These international rules and regulations are needed so that all ships which are sailing across the oceans, to bring all the goods that people need and want, are built and operated to the same standards.

These regulations cover everything from the number of lifeboats and lifejackets a ship must carry, to what kind of fire extinguishers the ship needs. The rules cover shipbuilding and ship design, ship equipment and the training of the seafarers who work onboard ships.

Other standards have been developed to make sure that ships do not pollute the oceans or the atmosphere.

You can find out more about the measures that IMO has adopted here.