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IMO and the safety of navigation


IMO has always paid great attention to the improvement of navigational safety.

Since 1959 a whole series of measures have been introduced, in the form of conventions, recommendations and other instruments. The best known and most important of these measures are conventions, three of which are particularly relevant to navigation. These are the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS); the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREG); and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 (STCW).

SOLAS covers various aspects of ship safety, including construction, fire protection, life-saving appliances, radiocommunications, safety of navigation, the carriage of cargoes and safety measures for high speed craft. Measures dealing with the safety of navigation appear in Chapter V. In December 2000, IMO adopted a revised version of chapter V, updating it and incorporating new requirements which entered into force in 2002.

Besides Conventions, IMO has also issued a series of resolutions and codes, including guidelines on navigation issues and performance standards for shipborne navigational and radiocommunications equipment. Some are simply recommendations - though such is their wide acceptance that they effectively mark international policy - while others are referred to by relevant Regulations of specific Conventions, thereby giving them the same weight as the Convention Regulations themselves.