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In Focus



Every year IMO celebrates World Maritime Day, which is used to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work. Each World Maritime Day has its own theme, which is reflected in IMO’s work throughout the year in question, and its own logo. World Maritime Day is celebrated in the last week of September each year, although the exact date is up to individual governments around the world.



Emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health and they contribute to ocean acidification. From 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m. This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits.



Fishing is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. It is estimated that thousands of fishers lose their lives every year. That is why IMO has been working for many years, alongside other stakeholders, to enhance fishing vessel safety – and save lives at sea. This work will also contribute to the battle against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.



IMO’s contribution to the international community’s efforts to tackle unsafe, mixed migration by sea, which is placing hundreds of thousands of lives in danger every year.



Ship noise can have negative impacts – on both humans and marine life.



Marine litter presents a huge problem in our oceans. But IMO and others have been taking action, by regulating the discharge of garbage from ships and supporting research work.



As part of the United Nations family, IMO is actively working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).



The main objective of the IMO's Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention), adopted in 1965, is to achieve the most efficient maritime transport as possible, looking for smooth transit in ports of ships, cargo and passengers.



The BWM Convention entered into force globally on 8 September 2017. IMO responds to frequently asked questions about the BWM Convention and its provisions, and what the entry into force means for international shipping.



A new kid-friendly website has arrived at IMO. It includes a specially- commissioned animation showing how IMO works to protect the marine environment and the atmosphere.



The Polar Code provides for safe ship operation in polar waters and the protection of the polar environment. The Code addresses the unique risks present in polar waters that are not covered by other instruments entered into force on 1 January 2017.



The role of ports in ensuring the smooth flow of trade by ship was on the table for discussion at a special event on ports at IMO Headquarters on Monday 11 June. This was followed by a symposium on port security operations (12-13 June), co-sponsored by the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police (INTERPORTPOLICE) and the IMO Secretariat.



As the United Nations agency responsible for developing and adopting measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships, IMO has an integral role in meeting the targets set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.



IMO continues to contribute to the global fight against climate change, and has adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from international shipping, under IMO’s pollution prevention treaty (MARPOL).



IMO currently has two main Awards: the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea and the International Maritime Prize.



The HNS Convention is the last piece in the puzzle needed to ensure that those who have suffered damage from the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by sea have access to a comprehensive and international liability and compensation regime.



50 years cooperation between government and industry to achieve a dramatic and sustained reduction in major oil spills from ships; to establish effective systems for preparedness and response if there is an incident and to create a comprehensive mechanism for providing compensation to those affected.



IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention aims to prevent the spread of potentially harmful and invasive aquatic species in ships' ballast water. Ships are required to manage their ballast water so that any aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location.



The declaration of the accurate gross mass of a packed container is critical to maritime safety. New SOLAS container mass verification requirements, which enter into force on 1 July 2016, aim to ensure that the mass declared is a true reflection of the gross mass of the packed container, in order to avoid injury, cargo damage, loss of containers, and so on.



Passenger ships on international voyages must comply with IMO standards on safety. And all passenger ships must comply with MARPOL rules to prevent pollution from ships. IMO is also working with countries to boost safety standards on non-SOLAS passenger ships.



IMO’s global programme on the Integration of Women in Maritime Sector aims to improve the representation of women in the industry. IMO supports the establishment of regional associations for women in the maritime sector and encourages IMO Member States to open the doors of their maritime institutes to enable women to train alongside men.



IMO responds to maritime security threats such as piracy by developing regulations and guidance through its Maritime Safety and Facilitation Committees and through extensive capacity-building work.