International Maritime Organization (IMO)
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the United Nations agency with responsibility for setting and maintaining international ship safety standards. Australia plays a key role at the IMO as a founding member and long-standing representative on the 40-member governing Council.
The IMO has 170 Member States and three Associate Members. Its main task is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
Australian interests at IMO
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) represents Australia at IMO to develop standards for ship safety, prevention of marine pollution from ships, search and rescue and maritime communications.
Australia is a significant coastal state with strong interests in international shipping:
- Australia is the largest island nation, with a coastline of sixty thousand kilometres
- 10 per cent of the world’s sea trade passes through Australian ports
- Australian ports receive more than 25,700 visits from internationally registered vessels each year
- Our search and rescue region covers 52.8 million square kilometres – around a tenth of the earth’s surface
- Our Great Barrier Reef was the first IMO-declared Particularly Sensitive Sea Area
Australia maintains permanent representation at the IMO demonstrating the importance the Australian Government places on the work of IMO. The Hon. Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is Australia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO. Australia also maintains an Alternate Permanent Representative based at the Australian High Commission in London.