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What is the Full Form of IMO? Check History, Objective, Members etc.

/ By Saghira
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Today we will talk about IMO, History and its full form? And will give complete information about what its functions are. The International Maritime Organization may be a specialized agency of the UN accountable for regulating shipping. The IMO was established following an agreement at a UN conference held in Geneva in 1948. Therefore the IMO came into existence ten years later, meeting for the primary time in 1959. Throughout this article, we provide detailed information about IMP, like the history of IMO objective, structure, members & much more.

What is IMO?

  • IMO stands for International Maritime Organization, and it is the UN specialized agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. Its work supports the UN’s sustainable development goals.
  • It is also included in legal matters, including liability and compensation issues and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.
  • It currently has 174 Member States. IMO’s organization is the Assembly formed from all the Member States and meets typically once every two years.
  • It takes into account the subsequent biennium along with technical resolutions and suggestions prepared by subsidiary bodies during the previous two years.

IMO Overview

IMOInternational Maritime Organization
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Formation17 March 1948; 73 years ago
Parent OrganizationUnited Nations Economic and Social Council
TypeUnited Nations specialized agency
Member174 Member


  • It has consistently been recognized that the simplest way of improving safety perplexed is by developing international regulations that are followed by all shipping nations and from the mid-19th century onwards several such treaties were adopted.
  • Several countries proposed that a permanent international body should be established to push maritime safety more effectively, but it had been not until the establishment of the international organization itself that these hopes were realized.
  • In 1948 a world conference in Geneva adopted a convention formally establishing IMO (the original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization or IMCO, but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO).

Objective of IMO

The mission of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as a world organization specialized agency, is to market safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping through cooperation. this may be accomplished by adopting the best practicable standards of maritime safety and security, the efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of pollution from ships, furthermore through consideration of the related legal matters and effective implementation of IMO instruments, with a view to their universal and uniform application.

Structure of IMO

The Organization consists of an Assembly, a Council, five main Committees and several Sub-Committees support the work of the main technical committees. The Organization consists of an Assembly, a Council and five main Committees: 

>The Maritime Safety Committee
>The Marine Environment Protection Committee
>The Legal Committee
>The Technical Cooperation Committee and the Facilitation Committee and Several Sub >Committees support the work of the main technical committees.

Strategic Plan for the Organization

The overarching principles, which should be taken into account in all of the Organization’s work and the strategic directions:

  • SD 1 Improve implementation
  • SD 2 Integrate new and advancing technologies in the regulatory framework
  • SD 3 Respond to climate change
  • SD 4 Engage in ocean governance
  • SD 5 Enhance global facilitation and security of international trade
  • SD 6 Ensure regulatory effectiveness
  • SD 7 Ensure organizational effectiveness


IMO currently has 174 Member States and three Associate Members. These are the current members with the year they joined:

Albania (1993)Ghana (1959)Palau (2011)
Algeria (1963)Greece (1958)Panama (1958)
Angola (1977)Grenada (1998)Papua New Guinea (1976)
Antigua and Barbuda (1986)Guatemala (1983)Paraguay (1993)
Argentina (1953)Guinea (1975)Peru (1968)
Armenia (2018)Guinea-Bissau (1977)Philippines (1964)
Australia (1952)Guyana (1980)Poland (1960)
Austria (1975)Haiti (1953)Portugal (1976)
Azerbaijan (1995)Honduras (1954)Qatar (1977)
Bahamas (1976)Hungary (1970)Republic of Korea (1962)
Bahrain (1976)Iceland (1960)Republic of Moldova (2001)
Bangladesh (1976)India (1959)Romania (1965)
Barbados (1970)Indonesia (1961)Russian Federation (1958)
Belarus (2016)Iran (1958)Saint Kitts and Nevis (2001)
Belgium (1951)Iraq (1973)Saint Lucia (1980)
Belize (1990)Ireland (1951)Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1981)
Benin (1980)Israel (1952)Samoa (1996)
Bolivia (1987)Italy (1957)San Marino (2002)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (1993)Jamaica (1976)São Tomé and Príncipe (1990)
Brazil (1963)Japan (1958)Saudi Arabia (1969)
Brunei Darussalam (1984)Jordan (1973)Senegal (1960)
Bulgaria (1960)Kazakhstan (1994)Serbia (2000)
Cabo Verde (1976)Kenya (1973)Seychelles (1978)
Cambodia (1961)Kiribati (2003)Sierra Leone (1973)
Cameroon (1961)Kuwait (1960)Singapore (1966)
Canada (1948)Latvia (1993)Slovakia (1993)
Chile (1972)Lebanon (1966)Slovenia (1993)
China (1973)Liberia (1959)Solomon Islands (1988)
Colombia (1974)Libya (1970)Somalia (1978)
Comoros (2001)Lithuania (1995)South Africa (1995)
Congo (1975)Luxembourg (1991)Spain (1962)
Cook Islands (2008)Madagascar (1961)Sri Lanka (1972)
Costa Rica (1981)Malawi (1989)Sudan (1974)
Côte d’Ivoire (1960)Malaysia (1971)Suriname (1976)
Croatia (1992)Maldives (1967)Sweden (1959)
Cuba (1966)Malta (1966)Switzerland (1955)
Cyprus (1973)Marshall Islands (1998)Syria (1963)
Czechia (1993)Mauritania (1961)Tanzania (1974)
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (1986)Mauritius (1978)Thailand (1973)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (1973)Mexico (1954)Timor-Leste (2005)
Denmark (1959)Monaco (1989)Togo (1983)
Djibouti (1979)Mongolia (1996)Tonga (2000)
Dominica (1979)Montenegro (2006)Trinidad and Tobago (1965)
Dominican Republic (1953)Morocco (1962)Tunisia (1963)
Ecuador (1956)Mozambique (1979)Turkey (1958)
Egypt (1958)Myanmar (1951)Turkmenistan (1993)
El Salvador (1981)Namibia (1994)Tuvalu (2004)
Equatorial Guinea (1972)Nauru (2018)Uganda (2009)
Eritrea (1993)Nepal (1979)Ukraine (1994)
Estonia (1992)Netherlands (1949)United Arab Emirates (1980)
Ethiopia (1975)New Zealand (1960)United Kingdom (1949)
Fiji (1983)Nicaragua (1982)United States of America (1950)
Finland (1959)Nigeria (1962)Uruguay (1968)
France (1952)North Macedonia (1993)Vanuatu (1986)
Gabon (1976)Norway (1958)Venezuela (1975)
Gambia (1979)Oman (1974)Viet Nam (1984)
Georgia (1993)Pakistan (1958)Yemen (1979)
Germany (1959)Zambia (2014)Zimbabwe (2005)

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Q. How can I become a member of IMO?

A. Only a country can become a Member of IMO. IMO currently has 174 Member States. Shipping and other interests are represented at IMO through Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs) which have concluded agreements of cooperation with IMO and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Consultative Status with IMO. Individuals wishing to raise an issue at IMO should approach their national maritime administration or appropriate IGO or NGO.​

Q. Who is the Secretary-General of IMO?

A. The current Secretary-General is Mr Kitack Lim (Republic of Korea).

Q. What is the purpose of the International Maritime Organization?

A. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and prevent marine pollution.

Q. IMO stand for?

A. International Maritime Organization.

Q. Is India a Member of IMO? India and IMO.

A. India has been a member of the IMO since 1959. India has had the privilege of being elected to and serving the Council of the IMO, ever since it started functioning till date, except for two years the period 1983-1984.


Hello, I am Saghira Basirat, having a keen interest in sharing educational and career articles. For any queries & corrections comment below.

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