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.
IMO is contributing to the global fight against climate change, in support of UN SDG 13. IMO has adopted mandatory measures on energy efficiency, and, in 2018, adopted an initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, setting out a vision which confirms a commitment to cutting GHG emissions from international shipping and to phasing them out as soon as possible.
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).
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 has a key strategic direction to Integrate new and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework. IMO is currently assessing existing IMO instruments to see how they might apply to ships with varying degrees of automation, through a regulatory scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS).
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.
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.
IMO is strongly committed to helping its Member States achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls". IMO's gender programme supports access to maritime training and employment opportunities for women in the maritime sector.
Ship noise can have negative impacts – on both humans and marine life.
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.
IMO currently has two main Awards: the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea and the International Maritime Prize.
IMO's kid-friendly website 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.
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.
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.
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.
Day of the Seafarer - 25 June
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.
IMO has developed and adopted a number of requirements to ensure the safe carriage of containers and has also developed specific guidance for packing and securing of containers.
IMO Awards Ceremony - 25 November 2019