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International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The IMO is the maritime organisation of the United Nations and the most important forum for international cooperation in the area of safety at sea and the prevention of pollution at sea.

The IMO prepares regulations and standards for international shipping relating to safety at sea (SOLAS Convention, ISPS Code), pollution (MARPOL and OPRC Conventions), certification and training (STCW Convention) and other areas (with a total of around 40 conventions). The IMO has 169 member states and cooperates with over 30 non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The IMO is a technical organisation, and most of the IMO's work takes place in a number of committees and subcommittees, 14 in total. Most of these committees meet for a week every year. The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate appoint and manage the Norwegian delegations to the IMO's committees. The Norwegian Coastal Administration participates on a number of these committees, some on a permanent basis and some on an ad hoc basis.

The most important IMO committees for the Norwegian Coastal Administration are:

  • MSC (Maritime Safety Committee).
  • MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee).
  • NAV (Safety of Navigation).
  • COMSAR (Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue).

Important IMO issues for the Norwegian Coastal Administration include:

  • Development of the e-navigation concept.
  • Development of binding guidelines for ships operating in polar regions (Polar Code).
  • Approval of risk-reducing ship routeing measures.
  • Approval of ship reporting systems, such as Safe Sea Net (SSN).
  • Developments related to Automatic Identification System (AIS).
  • Developments related to Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT).
  • Regulations and standards related to the pilot service.
  • ISPS Code – International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.

The Norwegian Coastal Administration is responsible with regard to work within the IMO as the coastal state authority and port state control authority.

Preliminary Norwegian meetings, where the relevant agencies and stakeholders participate, are held prior to every IMO meeting, to formulate Norwegian points of view.

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