As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

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IMO HQ London

Member States

IMO currently has 170 Member States and three Associate Members.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Non-governmental international organizations that have the capability to make a substantial contribution to the work of IMO may be granted consultative status by the Council with the approval of the Assembly.

Any organization seeking consultative status with IMO has to demonstrate considerable expertise as well as the capacity to contribute, within its field of competence, to the work of IMO. It must also show that it has no means of access to the work of IMO through other organizations already in consultative status and that it is “truly international” in its membership, namely that it has a range of members covering a broad geographical scope and, usually, more than one region.

The application procedure is initiated by sending, by post or e-mail, a formal letter addressed by the Executive Head of the NGO (or the person in charge) to the Secretary-General of IMO, informing him of the wish of the NGO to obtain consultative status with IMO.

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