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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the United Nations specialised agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from shipping.

What is the IMO?

The IMO’s main task has been to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping. Its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. While the Assembly sets the direction for the organisation and the Council decides on the detailed two-year work programme, much of the technical work to update existing legislation or develop and adopt new regulations is conducted by the IMO’s specialised committees and sub-committees.

Meetings are attended by maritime experts from member governments, together with those from interested intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, including OCIMF. OCIMF has enjoyed consultative status since 1971.

In addition, OCIMF and members participate at different stages of discussion, such as at the correspondence groups that are organised between the formal meeting sessions. While the committees decide on technical matters, the technical details are delegated to the sub-committees who then form working groups for experts to work through issues in greater detail. Input can be provided and decisions challenged at every stage. This gives OCIMF many opportunities to contribute.

What are the benefits?

OCIMF uses its technical knowledge and experience to fully understand the issues that the IMO chooses to address and the potential impact of proposed regulation on the businesses and activities of OCIMF members. In particular, OCIMF brings together the considerable expertise and experience of both the OCIMF Secretariat and its members to provide a powerful voice within the IMO to contribute to discussions on proposed regulation that provides practicable, effective ways of enhancing safety and environmental protection.

OCIMF’s aim is to be recognised and welcomed by the IMO as a trusted adviser with expert industry knowledge. In this way, OCIMF can build closer relationships with the IMO’s Secretariat. OCIMF gives its members the opportunity to provide input in a timely fashion by keeping them continually informed at all stages of the IMO’s activities.

OCIMF provides subject matter experts from member companies with a route to participate fully in IMO activities, working an issue through from understanding its implications to developing proposals and following their journey to inclusion in new regulations. This represents a significant personal development opportunity and builds valuable long-term relationships. By working with a broad range of other specialists, the subject matter expert also develops their own knowledge, enhancing their ability to continuously improve their company’s operations.

Above all, it is the longevity, quality and continuity of input that is of benefit both to the IMO and to OCIMF members – helping everyone work together to deliver improved safety and environmental protection for tankers, offshore vessels and marine terminals.