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The Role of the IMO

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations since 1958. Headquarters are in London, the United Kingdom with five regional offices in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, the Philippines and Trinidad and Tobago.

It consists of 174 member States plus three associated Members and more than 145 observer organisations – 64 Inter-Governmental Organisations (IGOs) and 81 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) (as of 2019). Its six official languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the global shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented to create a level playing-field so that financial issues do not deter enhancing safety, security and environmental soundness by simply cutting corners and compromising aforementioned pillars. Its governing bodies are Assembly and Council consist of member States. There are five Committees and seven Sub-committees.

The ITF in the IMO

NGOs, as observer delegations to IMO, participate in activities that are directly related to the purpose of the Organisation. The membership is granted when the entity is attested its truly international nature and capability of making a substantial contribution to the work of IMO by providing technical expertise and advice.

The ITF, as a social partner, has been appreciated by diverse UN agencies. In the sphere of IMO, a regulatory body in the maritime, the ITF obtained its consultative status in 1961. We speak on behalf of more than 1 million international maritime workers by advocating maritime humans’ safety regardless one’s geographical location. We do acknowledge the profound roles and responsibilities assigned to us and have been striving to excel to ensure safety and security of maritime human are fully considered at high regulatory level.

ITF delegates to the IMO come from all around the world, various backgrounds, gender and age groups. Such truly international and democratic attributes prove global maritime labour representation and ensure our voices are enshrined in the high-level legislation.

The ITF delegation attends to all IMO bodies and actively participate five Committees and seven Sub-committees throughout the year. According to expertise of each delegate, Working, Drafting and Technical Groups under each Committee/Sub-Committee are covered. The ITF delegates’ hard work also includes continuous contribution to Correspondence Groups, Experts Groups and Editorial & Technical Groups.

The ITF Maritime Safety Committee

The ITF Maritime Safety Committee is a technical body of the Seafarers’ Section, established to represent seafarers’ interests within relevant maritime fora to promote ITF policies and secure the protection or enhancement of Seafarers’ rights and working and living environment within the scope of IMO and other relevant fora.

The Committee prioritises projects to streamline the visions of the ITF and enhance seafarers’ safety and rights. Guidance principles to streamline the representation of the Committee are:

  • Seafarers’ Rights and Criminalisation;
  • Manning and Training;
  • Occupational Health and Safety;
  • Working and living conditions;
  • Ship Safety;
  • Security of Seafarers; and
  • Consequences of Environmental Conventions.

The Maritime Safety Committee Steering Group’s decision-making powers are delegated by the Committee. The Group is established to handle interim guidance and decisions, with the ITF Accredited Representative to the IMO to formulate strategies and provide recommendations to the Committee to be approved by the Seafarers’ Section on all issues under the abovementioned guiding principles.