IMO

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

About IMO

IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations and 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 implemented.

Status Type

IMO (formerly named ‘Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO)’ until 1981) was established by means of a convention adopted in Geneva in 1948 and entered into force in 1958. The Organization met for the first time in 1959. IMO currently has 172 Member States and three associate members as of January 2017.

Obligations/Responsabilities

IMO, as the Organization that sets the international regulatory framework for shipping, has promoted the adoption of some 50 conventions and protocols and adopted more than 1000 codes and recommendations concerning maritime safety and security, the prevention of pollution from shipping and other related matters. With regard to the protection of the marine environment, a series of conventions and other instruments, which are periodically updated and amended, have been adopted to address the prevention of pollution, preparedness and response to marine pollution incidents and compensation for pollution damage.

In this connection, the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Co-operation, (OPRC), 1990, and its associated Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (OPRC-HNS Protocol), outline a number of obligations for countries in both preparing for and responding to an incidents involving oil and hazardous and noxious substances in the marine environment.

In addition to encouraging and assisting member States in the ratification and implementation of the OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol, article 12 of the OPRC Convention and article 10 of the OPRC-HNS Protocol requests IMO to performa number of functions, subject to its agreementand the availability of resources, which include the provision and coordination of information services; assistance in identifying sources of financing; and to facilitate the provision of technical assistance and advice upon request by Parties.

REMPEC: The “Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the Coastal States of the Mediterranean Region for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea” (Barcelona, 1976) agreed to establish a Regional Centre and to entrust IMO with the responsibility, as Co-operating Agency, for the establishment and operation of the aforesaid Regional Centre, with the understanding that the exercise of functions and responsibilities by IMO should not lead to an increase in its budget. Subsequent to this, the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) was established.

Role and/or Services related to emergency response and international cooperation and assistance


IMO’s principal focus is the creation and implementation of a global regulatory framework for the shipping industry. The following informationoutlines the IMO’s main roles and services related to marine pollution, response and cooperation.

1.Information services
IMO receives, on request, collates and disseminates the information provided by Parties and by other sources regarding marine pollution incidents.


Information to be provided to IMO

National operational contact points responsible for the receipt of pollution incident reports.

In accordance with the provisions of Protocol I of MARPOL, the master of a ship involved in a pollution incident shall report, without delay, to the nearest coastal State, and Parties to MARPOL Convention shall make arrangements for an appropriate officer or agency to receive and process all incident reports. Parties shall notify IMO with complete details of such arrangements for circulation to other Parties and Member
States of the Organization (MARPOL, Protocol I, article 8).

Information on oil or HNS pollution incidents
When the severity of an oil or HNS pollution incident so justifies, a Party that receives an oil or HNS pollution incident report or pollution information provided by other sources should provide the IMO directly or, as appropriate, through the relevant regional organization or arrangements with the following information:

  • the nature, extent and possible consequences of the incident;
  • details of the Party’s assessments and any action it has taken, or intends to take, to deal with the incident; and
  • further information, as appropriate.

When the severity of an oil or HNS pollution incident so justifies, other States affected by the incident are urged to inform the IMO directly or, as appropriate, through the relevant regional organizations or arrangements of:

  • the assessments by other States, affected by the incident, of the extent of the threat to their interests and any action taken or intended (see article 4 and article 5(1), (2) and (3) of the OPRC Convention, article 3(1) of the OPRC-HNS Protocol)

2. The provision of assistance in identifying sources of financing

A Party which has requested assistance in accordance with the provisions of the OPRC Convention or the OPRC-HNS Protocol may request IMO to assist in identifying sources of provisional financing of the cost for such assistance (OPRC, art.7(2),and art.12(1); OPRC-HNS, art.5(2), and art.10(1))

3. Facilitating the provision of technical assistance and advices

Upon the request of States facing major pollution incidents, IMO may facilitate the provision of technical assistance and advice.

4. Backstopping of REMPEC
In cases of marine pollution incidents which require international assistance, IMO will assist REMPEC in carrying out its functions and provide the necessary backstopping that the situation may require.
Resources (where applicable):

1. IMODOCS
https://docs.imo.org/
Contains circulars, circular letters, meeting documents, meeting audio, notes verbales, treaties, etc.

2. Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS)
https://gisis.imo.org/Public/Default.aspx
GISIS has been developed by the IMO Secretariat in compliance with the decisions by IMO Members requesting public access to sets of data collected by the Secretariat and stored in off-line databases. Its aim is to allow on-line access to information supplied to the IMO Secretariat by Maritime Administrations, in compliance with IMO's instruments. The databases are maintained and updated by National Maritime
Administrations directly, or by submission to the Secretariat.

3. List of national operational contact points responsible for the receipt, transmission and processing of urgent reports on incidents
involving harmful substances, including oil from ships to coastal States
(The most up-to-date contact points can be found by consulting the appropriate module in GISIS at: http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Circulars/Pages/CP.aspx)

This national contact points list is provided as an annex to the MSC-MEPC.6 circular, as amended, which is updated based on the GISIS database on a quarterly basis. The list is used for the following requirements of MARPOL Convention (art. 8), OPRC Convention and OPRCHNS
Protocol

Regulation 37 of MARPOL Annex I requires that the Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP) shall contain a list of authorities or persons to be contacted in the event of a pollution incident involving such substances. Requirements for oil pollution emergency plans and relevant oil pollution reporting procedures are contained in Articles 3 and 4 of the OPRC Convention.

Regulation 17 of MARPOL Annex II requires that the Shipboard Marine Pollution Emergency Plan (SMPEP) for oil and/or noxious liquid substances shall contain a list of authorities or persons to be contacted in the event of a pollution incident involving such substances. In this context, requirements for emergency plans and reporting for hazardous and noxious substances are also contained in Article 3 of the OPRCHNS Protocol.


4. IMO Publications
http://www.imo.org/en/Publications/Pages/Home.aspx
Sets out those IMO publications available for purchase, such as conventions, codes, guidelines, manuals and model courses

5. Provision of experts
Upon the request of States, and subject to the availability of adequate resources, IMO may provide staff members or external experts to
provide technical assistance and advice for responding to major pollution incidents.

Procedure

1. Information to be provided to IMO
See the above “Roles and/or Services” section.
.
2. Response to enquiries related to OPRC Convention/OPRC-HNS Protocol
Any person or body, that has any enquiries related to OPRC Convention/OPRC-HNS Protocol, can contact the officers responsible for
OPRC/OPRC-HNS matters within IMO’s Marine Environment Division.

Conditions

IMODOCS and GISIS: user registration is necessary for access (free of charge)
List of national operational contact points: no restriction for access (IMO public website)
IMO Publications: IMO publications and materials listed in the catalogue can be purchased from IMO or its authorized distributors
Provision of experts: Upon request, subject to IMO’s agreement and the availability of adequate resources.

Contact

Address

International Maritime Organization
4, Albert Embankment
London, United Kingdom
SE1 7SR

Officers responsible for OPRC/OPRC-HNS matters
Marine Environment Division
Tel: +44 (0)20 7735 7611 (IMO switch board)
Fax: +44 (0)20 7587 3210
E-mail: info@imo.org
Websitehttps://gisis.imo.org/Public/Default.aspx Changes or additions to the SOPEP Contact Points
Update the database in GISIS (https://gisis.imo.org/Public/Default.aspx) - Contact Points - List of national operational contact points responsible for the receipt, transmission and processing of urgent reports on incidents involving harmful substances, including oil from ships to coastal states; or in case of emergency (e.g. cannot access to the GISIS database), alternatively send the information on such changes or additions to:
Fax: +44 (0)20 7587 3210
E-mail: SafePol-contacts@imo.org

Document Actions

published on 2020/03/30 16:07:03 GMT+0 last modified 2020-04-30T11:26:33+00:00