International Maritime Organization

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a special agency of the United Nations established in 1958 with responsibility for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. It has its headquarters on the Albert Embankment in London. IMO deals with the administration and legal aspects of a number of important maritime conventions. One of the first treaties it was concerned with was SOLAS—the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea—and it later addressed conventions on facilitating marine traffic, determining load lines, measuring the tonnage of ships, and regulating antifouling systems (see fouling) and the transportation of dangerous cargoes. The grounding of the tanker Torrey Canyon in 1967 resulted in the adoption of the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as MARPOL, and the establishment of treaties which provide rapid compensation to anyone who has suffered from the impact of marine pollution, one of today's most important environmental issues. IMO also sets international standards for the training and certification of seafarers, and for watchkeeping at sea, and it introduced the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), which became fully operational in 1999. Its activities touch everyone who has anything to do with the sea, making life at sea and along the coasts safer for everyone.

See also international lifeboat federation.www.imo.org/index.htm

See also international lifeboat federation.www.imo.org/index.htm

M. V. Angel

Subjects: Maritime History — Environmental Science.

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