Convention on the International Maritime Organization, 6th March 1948 (289 UNTS 48), OXIO 258
International Maritime Organization [IMO]
- Pollution — Constituent instruments of international organizations — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea)
1. The normative functions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
2. The budget of the IMO.
3. The organs of the IMO.
4. The areas of competence of the IMO.
The Convention on the International Maritime Organization (‘Convention’) is the constitutive instrument of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the international institution competent in the field of navigation, marine safety, and security at sea. It was adopted in 1948. The IMO remains the only competent organization in these fields.
Although the principle of freedom of navigation, as well as international cooperation related to shipping, has been recognized for a very long time in international law, no specific international instrument dealt with these issues. Therefore, in 1889, an international maritime conference was held in Washington DC (United States), in order to discuss the creation of an international institution competent in the field of navigation. Other institutions were created in this period, such as the International Meteorological Organization in 1873. Nonetheless, navigation was a sensitive issue, as states and the maritime industry feared that an international agreement would limit their freedom of navigation. Thus, the project was rejected.
Later, after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, an international conference, gathering thirteen countries, was convened in order to adopt an international treaty on the safety of life at sea. A conference was organized by the United Kingdom (UK) under the auspices of the League of Nations, and the first version of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (‘SOLAS Convention’) was signed in London on 20 January 1914 (a second version was adopted in 1929). The UK was the largest flag state at that time and played a central role in discussions dealing with security, ship tonnage, and environment issues. However, due to the First World War, only five countries ratified the SOLAS Convention in 1914. It was only after the Second World War that a new conference was convened, although different temporary institutions such as the United Maritime Authority or the United Maritime Consultative Council were created in the meantime. By 1945, the context had changed because of the creation of the United Nations (UN) and other universal organizations, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization in 1944, and the International Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. A maritime conference was held in Geneva on 19 February 1948.
The Convention was adopted on 6 March 1948 and entered into force ten years after its adoption, on 17 March 1958, following the ratification of Egypt. The reasons why the Convention entered into force ten years after its adoption are twofold. First, some states—including Greece, India, the United States, and Norway—were scared of interference with their national industries and laws, or with the freedom of navigation. For that reason, many states disagreed with the former formulation of Article 1 of the Convention, especially the first part of Article 1 dealing with the economic and commercial competences of the IMO. Second, other states thought that the Convention would only benefit the maritime-powerful states. Indeed, some aspects of the Convention were directly dedicated to the most powerful maritime states—for example, the composition of the IMO Council, or a treaty that only entered into force for a state depending on its total tonnage. States ratified the Convention with a large number of reservations, reducing its fields of application.
The name of the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) was changed in 1982 to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as a result of the entry into force of Resolution A.358(IX) on amendments to the Convention. The need to review the Convention followed an increase in the size of the IMO, changes in its work programme, and changes to the methods used to perform its work. This change had also been influenced by the Third United Nations Conference for the Law of the Sea, as the two processes took place simultaneously.
Progressive adaptions of this instrument in response to new problems, as well as the increase of its powers and changes in its character—becoming almost universal in its membership in 2017 with 172 Member States—make this Convention particularly important to focus upon in the history of international organizations as well as an important study on international law generally.
Based on the principle of freedom of navigation for all states, the Convention aimed at eradicating all discriminatory measures adopted by states, discriminatory practices, unnecessary restrictions to international shipping, and unfairly restrictive actions, as well as collaborating in the exchange of information.
The objectives of the IMO were outlined in Article 1 of the Convention: collaboration in technical, legal, and administrative issues related to international commercial shipping, and the adoption of norms for international navigation safety and efficiency. The ‘prevention and control of marine pollution from ships’ was later added to the objectives of the Convention.
According to Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention, all states could become a member of the IMO, under certain conditions, and members of the UN could become members of the Convention.
The Convention set out the different functions and organs of the IMO, which were not only consultative, but were responsible for the elaboration and adoption of conventions, exchange of information, and facilitation of technical cooperation. [Art 2]. According to Article 11, ‘[t]he [IMO] shall consist of an Assembly, a Council, a Maritime Safety Committee, a Legal Committee, a Marine Environment Protection Committee, a Technical Co-operation Committee[,] and such subsidiary organs as the [IMO] may at any time consider necessary; and a Secretariat’—the Assembly and Council being the two main organs. The Assembly included all Member States. [Art 12] The Council only included, at the beginning, sixteen Member States, which has subsequently been raised to forty Member States at the time of writing via an amendment to the Convention in 1993. [Art 16] The members of the Council were to be elected by the Assembly according to their interest in providing shipping services and international seaborne trade, but also ensuring a fair geographical distribution in Council members. [Art 17] Similarly, in 1948, the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee was a restricted organ, composed of only fourteen members having an important interest in maritime safety, of which at least eight members were to be the largest ship-owning nations—see the paragraph in this headnote’s analysis discussing the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ or ‘Court’) on the Constitution of the Maritime Safety Committee of the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (‘Maritime Safety Committee Opinion’). [Art 28] In 1974, an amendment to the Convention opened participation in the Maritime Safety Committee to all Member States: the automatic seat allocation was removed (Resolution A.316 (ES.V) on Wider Representation in the Council). The Convention also mandated the existence and legal regimes of the Secretariat, the Legal Committee, and the Technical Cooperation Committee. [Arts 32–36, 42–47] The Marine Protection Environment Committee was created by an amendment to the Convention in 1975 (Resolution A.358(IX) on amendments to the IMCO Convention), which entered into force in 1982. [Arts 37–41]
The voting procedure of the IMO rested on the principle of one vote per state, and decisions were to be taken following the majority rule of members present. [Art 57] The headquarters of the IMO were established in London. [Art 58]
Evolution of the functions and powers of the IMO
Initially, the Convention only reflected the economic considerations of states and the will to eradicate discriminatory actions while maintaining the complete freedom of navigation. Moreover, states wanted a very flexible organization, with a consultative function and technical character. Article 2 of the Convention (in the unamended 1948 version) merely stated that ‘the functions of the [IMO] shall be consultative and advisory’. The current version of Article 2 is much broader, stating that the principal function of the IMO is to provide for: ‘the drafting of conventions, agreements[,] or other suitable instruments’; ‘machinery for consultation among [m]embers and exchange of information’; and facilitation of ‘technical cooperation’. Indeed, the revised IMO has the power to formulate recommendations, draft conventions, convene international conferences, and act in conformity with other pertinent international instruments. Moreover, the environmental dimension of the IMO was only developed in 1975 following shipping accidents that caused significant environmental damage, such as the Torrey Canyon oil spill in 1967, when the SS Torrey Canyon ran aground off the coast of the UK.
Calculation of the budget of the IMO and membership of its organs
A particularity of the IMO, in comparison with any other international organization, is that the apportionment of the budget of the IMO to individual Member States is not only calculated according to the wealth of the state, but is also dependent on the percentage of worldwide tonnage controlled by their maritime fleet. This system of calculating the budget is unique. However, this calculation of tonnage also influences the functioning of the IMO and the balance of power within it. One unintended outcome of this balance is that so-called flags of convenience, such as Panama or Liberia, hold significant sway within the IMO.
On this topic, one year after the entry into force of the Convention, the ICJ gave its advisory opinion on 8 June 1960 regarding the designation of members of the International Safety Committee (Maritime Safety Committee Opinion). The question asked of the ICJ was reformulated by the Court to the following: ‘has the Assembly, in not electing Liberia and Panama to the Maritime Safety Committee, exercised its electoral power in a manner in accordance with the provisions of Article 28(a) of the Convention’ (Maritime Safety Committee Opinion, para 153). The issue dealt in particular with the provisions on membership regarding ‘having an important interest in maritime safety’, and ‘the largest ship-owning nations’—which eight of the fourteen members of the Maritime Safety Committee had to be. The Court concluded by defining the ‘largest ship-owning nations’ as the ‘nations having the largest registered ship tonnage’, recalling the role of the Maritime Safety Committee ‘to consider matters within the scope of the [IMO] and of recommending through the Council and the Assembly to Member States, proposals for maritime regulation’ (Maritime Safety Committee Opinion, 170). The ICJ decided that the Assembly should have elected the two states concerned, because they were included in the eight largest ship-owning nations referred to in Article 28(a).
The normative function and procedures of the IMO
The key main organs and committees of the IMO are concerned with the adoption and implementation of conventions, and also of soft law instruments, resolutions, or recommendations.
Adoption and implementation of conventions
The principal activity of the IMO is to develop and promote the adoption of international conventions in its areas of competence. Adopting a convention is the activity with which the six main organs of the IMO are most closely involved. These conventions, in order to enter into force, need to be formally accepted by IMO Member States (by signature, ratification, etc). Moreover, they are regularly amended in order to evolve with new technologies, techniques, and needs.
Amendments of the conventions and the ‘tacit acceptance’ mechanism
At the beginning of the IMO, the amendment of a convention was intended to enter into force after the formal acceptance of a certain percentage of Contracting States (usually two thirds). However, this requirement made it difficult for conventions to stay up to date, as it took a very long time to bring the amendments into force, with the conventions almost immediately needing another technical update. Thus, one of the most innovative mechanisms related to the normative functions of the IMO is the ‘tacit acceptance’ procedure. The tacit acceptance procedure provides that for an amendment to enter into force only the expiration of a particular time limit is necessary. Nevertheless, states are able to expressly ‘opt out’, meaning that the amendment will not enter into force for the objecting state. This procedure has been used, for example, in the cases of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (‘COLREG’) (1972), the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (‘MARPOL’) (1973), as well as the SOLAS Convention (1974). It was then incorporated into most of the IMO’s technical conventions, facilitating the quick and simple adaptation of conventions to the technological evolution of the maritime industry.
Soft law instruments, resolutions, or recommendations
The normative activities of the IMO also include the adoption of recommendations and resolutions, especially for the adoption of technical norms on maritime safety. Those instruments of soft law have the advantage of being more flexible and do not need such a heavy procedure of adoption as the conventions. This flexibility and incentive character is much appreciated by states. The Assembly has the competence to develop recommendations to Member States and to adopt resolutions. [Arts 16(i), 16(j)] This is also the case for the other IMO organs, and the recommendations of its committees are submitted to the Council. [Arts 22, 30, 35, 40] The recommendations and resolutions deal with internal matters or issues external to the IMO. For example, in 2016, the Marine Environmental Protection Committee adopted Resolution MEPC.282(70) on the guidelines for the development of a ship energy efficiency management plan (SEEMP), and Resolution MEPC.283(70) on the designation of the Jomard Entrance as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area under the MARPOL.
The Convention has evolved from its conception, to its entry into force, and afterwards too, becoming more acceptable to states. It has been amended several times since its entry into force in order to become more representative and to extend its functions. The membership of the IMO is now almost universal, with 172 Member States in 2017.
It is the amendment of 1975—which changed the name of the IMO—that added to the objectives regarding safety and security at sea the environmental aims and functions of the IMO, particularly regarding prevention of environmental pollution. Marine environment became, from that point, one of the most important fields of activity for the IMO. The IMO subsequently became more open, with wider powers and functions.
Some of the most important conventions adopted by members of the IMO include:
• In the field of safety at sea, the SOLAS Convention (1974), the COLREG (1972), and the International Convention on Salvage (1989).
• In the field of marine pollution, the MARPOL (1973) (and its protocols of 1978 and 1997); the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (1972) (and its 1996 Protocol), or more recently the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments (2004); and the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009).
• Conventions covering liability and compensation, such as the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (1969), and the International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (2007).
Relationship with other organizations and legal regimes
The IMO was and continues to be the specialized agency of the UN in the field of shipping. [Art 59] Therefore, it is part of the ‘United Nations System’.
The IMO is part of the international law of the sea in the broad sense. It is the ‘competent international organization’ regarding the adoption of international shipping rules and standards dealing with maritime safety, efficiency of navigation, and the prevention and control of marine pollution from vessels and by dumping under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (‘UNCLOS’), adopted in 1982 and entered into force in 1994—for example, see Article 211 UNCLOS: ‘[s]tates, acting through the competent international organization or general diplomatic conference, shall establish international rules and standards to prevent, reduce[,] and control pollution of the marine environment from vessels’. The use of the singular for ‘organization’ in the UNCLOS indicates that for any issue regarding the field of shipping, the IMO is the only organization of reference, and that states should act through it. The duty for states to act through the IMO therefore derives from the UNCLOS.
Further analysis of Relevant Materials
- V A Blanco-Bazan ‘Historical Highlights in the Life of a UN-Agency’ (2004) 6(1) Journal of the History of International Law 261–283
- R Wolfrum ‘Legitimacy of International Law and the Exercise of Administrative Functions: The Example of the International Seabed Authority, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Fisheries Organizations’ in A von Bogdandy et al (eds) The Exercise of Public Authority by International Institutions: Advancing International Institutional Law (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law 2010)
- H Lefebvre-Chalain La Stratégie Normative de l’Organisation Maritime Internationale (OMI) (Presses Universitaires d’Aix-Marseille 2012)
- A Chirocp ‘The International Maritime Organization’ in D Rothwell, A G Oude Elferink, K N Scott, and T Stephens (eds) The Oxford Handbook on the Law of the Sea (Oxford University Press 2016)
- M Forteau and J-M Thouvenin Traité de Droit International de la Mer (Center of International Law of the University Paris Ouest, Pedone 2017)
International Maritime Organization
- Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (adopted 15 May 2009) IMO Doc SR/CONF/45
- International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (adopted 18 May 2007, entered into force 14 April 2015) IMO Doc LEG/CONF.16/19
- International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments (adopted 13 February 2004, entered into force 8 September 2017) IMO Doc BWM/CONF/36, Annex
- Protocol of 1997 to amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (signed 26 September 1997, entered into force 19 May 2005) IMO Resolution MEPC 78(43)
- Protocol to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (signed 7 November 1996, entered into force 24 March 2006)  ATS 11; (1997) 36 ILM 1
- International Convention on Salvage (signed 28 April 1989, entered into force 14 July 1996) 1953 UNTS 165
- Protocol of 1978 relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (signed 17 February 1978, entered into force 2 October 1983) 1340 UNTS 61
- International Maritime Organization Resolution A.358(IX) on amendments to the IMCO Convention (14 November 1975) IMO Res A.358(IX)
- International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (signed 1 November 1974, entered into force 25 May 1980) 1184 UNTS 2
- Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization Assembly Resolution A.316 (ES.V) on Wider Representation in the Council (18 October 1974) A/ES.V/Res.316
- International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (adopted 2 November 1973, entered into force 2 October 1983) 1340 UNTS 184
- Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (signed 29 December 1972, entered into force 30 August 1975) 1046 UNTS 120
- Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (signed 20 October 1972, entered into force 15 July 1977) 1050 UNTS 16
- International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (signed 29 October 1969, entered into force 19 June 1975) 973 UNTS 3
Marine Environment Protection Committee
- Resolution MEPC.282(70) on the Guidelines for the development of a ship energy efficiency management plan (SEEMP) (28 October 2016) MEPC 70/18/Add.1, Annex 10 [http://www.imo.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/IndexofIMOResolutions/Marine-Environment-Protection-Committee-(MEPC)/Documents/MEPC.282(70).pdf]
- Resolution MEPC.283(70) on the designation of the Jomard Entrance as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (28 October 2016) MEPC 70/18/Add.1, Annex 12 [http://www.imo.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/IndexofIMOResolutions/Marine-Environment-Protection-Committee-(MEPC)/Documents/MEPC.283(70).pdf]
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (signed 10 December 1982, entered into force 16 November 1994) 1833 UNTS 3
Other treaties and materials
- International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea between Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United States, signed at London, 20 January 1914 (20 January 1914) 219 CTS 177 [http://www.archive.org/stream/textofconvention00inte#page/n5/mode/2up]
The States parties to the present Convention hereby establish the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (hereinafter referred to as the Organization ").
Part I Purposes of The Organization
The purposes of the Organization are:
(a) to provide machinery for co-operation among Governments in the field of governmental regulation and practices relating to technical matters of all kinds affecting shipping engaged in international trade, and to encourage the general adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety and efficiency of navigation;
(b) to encourage the removal of discriminatory action and unnecessary restrictions by Governments affecting shipping engaged in international trade so as to promote the availability of shipping services to the commerce of the world without discrimination; assistance and encouragement given by a Government for the development of its national shipping and for purposes of security does not in itself constitute discrimination, provided that such assistance and encouragement is not based on measures designed to restrict the freedom of shipping of all flags to take part in international trade;
(c) to provide for the consideration by the Organization of matters concerning unfair restrictive practices by shipping concerns in accordance with Part II;
(d) to provide for the consideration by the Organization of any matters concerning shipping that may be referred to it by any organ or Specialized Agency of the United Nations;
(e) to provide for the exchange of information among Governments on matters under consideration by the Organization.
Part II Functions
In order to achieve the purposes set out in Part I, the functions of the Organization shall be:
(a) subject to the provisions of Article 4, to consider and make recommendations upon matters arising under Article 1 (a), (b) and (c) that may be remitted to it by Members, by any organ or Specialized Agency of the United Nations or by any other intergovernmental organization or upon matters referred to it under Article 1 (d);
(b) to provide for the drafting of conventions, agreements, or other suitable instruments, and to recommend these to Governments and to intergovernmental organizations, and to convene such conferences as may be necessary;
(c) to provide machinery for consultation among Members and the exchange of information among Governments.
In those matters which appear to the Organization capable of settlement through the normal processes of international shipping business the Organization shall so recommend. When, in the opinion of the Organization, any matter concerning unfair restrictive practices by shipping concerns is incapable of settlement through the normal processes of international shipping business, or has in fact so proved, and provided it shall first have been the subject of direct negotiations between the Members concerned, the Organization shall, at the request of one of those Members, consider the matter.
Part III Membership
Membership in the Organization shall be open to all States, subject to the provisions of Part III.
Members of the United Nations may become Members of the Organization by becoming parties to the Convention in accordance with the provisions of Article 57.
States not Members of the United Nations which have been invited to send representatives to the United Nations Maritime Conference convened in Geneva on the 19th February 1948, may become Members by becoming parties to the Convention in accordance with the provisions of Article 57.
Any State not entitled to become a Member under Article 6 or 7 may apply through the Secretary-General of the Organization to become a Member and shall be admitted as a Member upon its becoming a party to the Convention in accordance with the provisions of Article 57 provided that, upon the recommendation of the Council, its application has been approved by two-thirds of the Members other than Associate Members.
Any territory or group of territories to which the Convention has been made applicable under Article 58, by the Member having responsibility for its international relations or by the United Nations, may become an Associate Member of the Organization by notification in writing given by such Member or by the United Nations, as the case may be, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
An Associate Member shall have the rights and obligations of a Member under the Convention except that it shall not have the right to vote in the Assembly or be eligible for membership on the Council or on the Maritime Safety Committee and subject to this the word " Member " in the Convention shall be deemed to include Associate Member unless the context otherwise requires.
Part IV Organs
Part V The assembly
Regular sessions of the Assembly shall take place once every two years. Extraordinary sessions shall be convened after a notice of sixty days whenever one-third of the Members give notice to the Secretary-General that they desire a session to be arranged, or at any time if deemed necessary by the Council, after a notice of sixty days.
A majority of the Members other than Associate Members shall constitute a quorum for the meetings of the Assembly.
The functions of the Assembly shall be:
(a) to elect at each regular session from among its Members, other than Associate Members, its President and two Vice Presidents who shall hold office until the next regular session;
(b) to determine its own rules of procedure except as otherwise provided in the Convention;
(c) to establish any temporary or, upon recommendation of the Council, permanent subsidiary bodies it may consider to be necessary;
(d) to elect the Members to be represented on the Council, as provided in Article 17, and on the Maritime Safety Committee as provided in Article 28;
(e) to receive and consider the reports of the Council, and to decide upon any question referred to it by the Council;
(f) to vote the budget and determine the financial arrangements of the Organization, in accordance with Part IX;
(g) to review the expenditures and approve the accounts of the Organization;
(h) to perform the functions of the Organization, provided that in matters relating to Article 3 (a) and (b), the Assembly shall refer such matters to the Council for formulation by it of any recommendations or instruments thereon; provided further that any recommendations or instruments submitted to the Assembly by the Council and not accepted by the Assembly shall be referred back to the Council for further consideration with such observations as the Assembly may make;
(i) to recommend to Members for adoption regulations concerning maritime safety, or amendments to such regulations, which have been referred to it by the Maritime Safety Committee through the Council;
(j) to refer to the Council for consideration or decision any matters within the scope of the Organization, except that the function of making recommendations under paragraph (i) of this Article shall not be delegated.
Part VI The Council
The Council shall consist of sixteen Members and shall be composed as follows:
(a) six shall be governments of the nations with the largest interest in providing international shipping services;
(b) six shall be governments of other nations with the largest interest in international seaborne trade;
(c) two shall be elected by the Assembly from among the governments of nations having a substantial interest in providing international shipping services, and
(d) two shall be elected by the Assembly from among the governments of nations having substantial interest in international seaborne trade.
In accordance with the principles set forth in this Article the first Council shall be constituted as provided in Appendix I to the present Convention.
Except as provided in Appendix I1 to the present Convention, the Council shall determine for the purpose of Article 17 (a), the Members, governments of nations with the largest interest in providing international shipping services, and shall also determine, for the purpose of Article 17 (c), the Members, governments of nations having a substantial interest in providing such services. Such determinations shall be made by a majority vote of the Council including the concurring votes of a majority of the Members represented on the Council under Article 17 (a) and (c). The Council shall further determine for the purpose of Article 17 (b), the Member's, governments of nations with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. Each Council shall make these determinations at a reasonable time before each regular session of the Assembly.
Members represented on the Council in accordance with Article 17 shall hold office until the end of the next regular session of the Assembly. Members shall be eligible for re-election.
(a) The Council shall elect its Chairman and adopt its own rules of procedure except as otherwise provided in the Convention.
(b) Twelve members of the Council shall constitute a quorum.
(c) The Council shall meet upon one month's notice as often as may be necessary for the efficient discharge of its duties upon the summons of its Chairman or upon request by not less than four of its members. It shall meet at such places as may be convenient.
The Council shall invite any Member to participate, without vote, in its deliberations on any matter of particular concern to that Member.
(a) The Council shall receive the recommendations and reports of the Maritime Safety Committee and shall transmit them to the Assembly and, when the Assembly is not in session, to the Members for information, together with the comments and recommendations of the Council.
(b) Matters within the scope of Article 29 shall be considered by the Council only after obtaining the views of the Maritime Safety Committee thereon.
The Council, with the approval of the Assembly, shall appoint the Secretary-General. The Council shall also make provision for the appointment of such other personnel as may be necessary, and determine the terms and conditions of service of the Secretary-General and other personnel, which terms and conditions shall conform as far as possible with those of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies.
The Council shall make a report to the Assembly at each regular session on the work of the Organization since the previous regular session of the Assembly.
The Council shall submit to the Assembly the budget estimates and the financial statements of the Organization, together with its comments and recommendations.
The Council may enter into agreements or arrangements covering the relationship of the Organization with other organizations, as provided for in Part XII. Such agreements or arrangements shall be subject to approval by the Assembly.
Part VII Maritime Safety Committee
(a) The Maritime Safety Committee shall consist of fourteen Members elected by the Assembly from the Members, governments of those nations having an important interest in maritime safety, of which not less than eight shall be the largest ship-owning nations, and the remainder shall be elected so as to ensure adequate representation of Members, governments of other nations with an important interest in maritime safety, such as nations interested in the supply of large numbers of crews or in the carriage of large numbers of berthed and unberthed passengers, and of major geographical areas.
(b) Members shall be elected for a term of four years and shall be eligible for re-election.
(a) The Maritime Safety Committee shall have the duty of considering any matter within the scope of the Organization and concerned with aids to navigation, construction and equipment of vessels, manning from a safety standpoint, rules for the prevention of collisions, handling of dangerous cargoes, maritime safety procedures and requirements, hydrographic information, log-books and navigational records, marine casualty investigation, salvage and rescue, and any other matters directly affecting maritime safety.
(b) The Maritime Safety Committee shall provide machinery for performing any duties assigned to it by the Convention, or by the Assembly, or any duty within the scope of this Article which may be assigned to it by any other intergovernmental instrument.
(c) Having regard to the provisions of Part XII, the Maritime Safety Committee shall have the duty of maintaining such close relationship with other intergovernmental bodies concerned with transport and communications as may further the object of the Organization in promoting maritime safety and facilitate the co-ordination of activities in the fields of shipping, aviation, telecommunications and meteorology with respect to safety and rescue.
The Maritime Safety Committee, through the Council, shall:
(a) submit the Assembly at its regular sessions proposals made by Members for safety regulations or for amendments to existing safety regulations, together with its comments or recommendations thereon;
(b) report to the Assembly on the work of the Maritime Safety Committee since the previous regular session of the Assembly.
The Maritime Safety Committee shall meet once a year and at other times upon request of any five of its members. It shall elect its officers once a year and shall adopt its own rules of procedure. A majority of its members shall constitute a quorum.
Part VIII The Secretariat
The Secretariat shall comprise the Secretary-General, a Secretary of the Maritime Safety Committee and such staff as the Organization may require. The Secretary General shall be the chief administrative officer of the Organization, and shall, subject to the provisions of Article 23, appoint the above-mentioned personnel.
The Secretariat shall maintain all such records as may be necessary for the efficient discharge of the functions of the Organization and shall prepare, collect and circulate the papers, documents, agenda, minutes and information that may be required for the work of the Assembly, the Council, the Maritime Safety Committee, and such subsidiary organs as the Organization may establish.
The Secretary General shall prepare and submit to the Council the financial statements for each year and the budget estimates on a biennial basis, with the estimates for each year shown separately.
The Secretary-General shall keep Members informed with respect to the activities of the Organization. Each Member may appoint one or more representatives for the purpose of communication with the Secretary-General.
In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials. Each Member on its part undertakes to respect the exclusively international character of the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Part IX Finances
Each Member shall bear the salary, travel and other expenses of its own delegation to the Assembly and of its representatives on the Council, the Maritime Safety Committee, other committees and subsidiary bodies.
The Council shall consider the financial statements and budget estimates prepared by the Secretary-General and submit them to the Assembly with its comments and recommendations.
(a) Subject to any agreement between the Organization and the United Nations, the Assembly shall review and approve the budget estimates.
(b) The Assembly shall apportion the expenses among the Members in accordance with a scale to be fixed by it after consideration of the proposals of the Council thereon.
Part X Voting
The following provisions shall apply to voting in the Assembly, the Council and the Maritime Safety Committee:
(a) Each Member shall have one vote.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in the Convention or in any international agreement which confers functions on the Assembly, the Council, or the Maritime Safety Committee, decisions of these organs shall be by a majority vote of the Members present and voting and, for decisions where a two-thirds majority vote is required, by a two-thirds majority vote of those present.
(c) For the purpose of the Convention, the phrase " Members present and voting" means " Members present and casting an affirmative or negative vote ". Members which abstain from voting shall be considered as not voting.
Part XI Headquarters of The Organization
Part XII Relationship With the United Nations and Other Organizations
The Organization shall be brought into relationship with the United Nations in accordance with Article 57 of the Charter of the United Nations as the Specialized Agency in the field of shipping. This relationship shall be effected through an agreement with the United Nations under Article 63 of the Charter of the United Nations, which agreement shall be concluded as provided in Article 26.
The Organization shall co-operate with any Specialized Agency of the United Nations in matters which may be the common concern of the Organization and of such Specialized Agency, and shall consider such matters and act with respect to them in accord with such Specialized Agency.
The Organization may, on matters within its scope, cooperate with other inter-governmental organizations which are not Specialized Agencies of the United Nations, but whose interests and activities are related to the purposes of the Organization.
The Organization may, on matters within its scope, make suitable arrangements for consultation and co-operation with non-governmental international organizations.
Subject to approval by a two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly, the Organization may take over from any other international organizations, governmental or non-governmental, such functions, resources and obligations within the scope of the Organization as may be transferred to the Organization by international agreements or by mutually acceptable arrangements entered into between competent authorities of the respective organizations. Similarly, the Organization may take over any administrative functions which are within its scope and which have been entrusted to a government under the terms of any international instrument.
Part XIII Legal Capacity, Privileges and Immunities
The legal capacity, privileges and immunities to be accorded to, or in connection with, the Organization, shall be derived from and governed by the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 21st November, 1947,1 subject to such modifications as may be set forth in the final (or revised) text of the Annex approved by the Organization in accordance with Sections 36 and 38 of the said General Convention.
Pending its accession to the said General Convention in respect of the Organization, each Member undertakes to apply the provisions of Appendix II1 to the present Convention.
Part XIV Amendments
Tests of proposed amendments to the Convention shall be communicated by the Secretary-General to Members at least six months in advance of their consideration by the Assembly. Amendments shall be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly, including the concurring votes of a majority of the Members represented on the Council. Twelve months after its acceptance by two-thirds of the Members of the Organization, other than Associate Members, each amendment shall come into force for all Members except those which, before it comes into force, make a declaration that they do not accept the amendment. The Assembly may by a two-thirds majority vote determine at the time of its adoption that an amendment is of such a nature that any Member which has made such a declaration and which does not accept the amendment within a period of twelve months after the amendment comes into force shall, upon the expiration of this period, cease to be a party to the Convention.
Any amendment adopted under Article 52 shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who will immediately forward a copy of the amendment to all Members.
A declaration or acceptance under Article 52 shall be made by the communication of an instrument to the Secretary-General for deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General will notify Members of the receipt of any such instrument and of the date when the amendment enters into force.
Part XV Interpretation
Any question or dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention shall be referred for settlement to the Assembly, or shall be settled in such other manner as the parties to the dispute agree. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the Council or the Maritime Safety Committee from settling any such question or dispute that may arise during the exercise of their functions.
Part XVI Miscellaneous Provisions
Article 57 Signature and Acceptance
Subject to the provisions of Part III the present Convention shall remain open for signature or acceptance and States may become parties to the Convention by:
(a) Signature without reservation as to acceptance;
(b) Signature subject to acceptance followed by acceptance; or
Acceptance shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Article 58 Territories
(a) Members may make a declaration at any time that their participation in the Convention includes all or a group or a single one of the territories for whose international relations they are responsible.
(b) The Convention does not apply to territories for whose international relations Members are responsible unless a declaration to that effect has been made on their behalf under the provisions of paragraph (a) of this Article.
(c) A declaration made under paragraph (a) of this Article shall be communicated to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and a copy of it will be forwarded by him to all States invited to the United Nations Maritime Conference and to such other States as may have become Members.
(d) In cases where under a trusteeship agreement the United Nations is the administering authority, the United Nations may accept the Convention on behalf of one, several, or all of the trust territories in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article 57.
Article 59 Withdrawal
(a) Any Member may withdraw from the Organization by written notification given to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who will immediately inform the other Members and the Secretary-General of the Organization of such notification. Notification of withdrawal may be given at any time after the expiration of twelve months from the date on which the Convention has come into force. The withdrawal shall take effect upon the expiration of twelve months from the date on which such written notification is received by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
(b) The application'of the Convention to a territory or group of territories under Article 58 may at any time be terminated by written notification given to the Secretary-General of the United Nations by the Member responsible for its international relations or, in the case of a trust territory of which the United Nations is the administering authority, by the United Nations. The Secretary-General of the United Nations will immediately inform all Members and the Secretary-General of the Organization of such notification. The notification shall take effect upon the expiration of twelve months from the date on which it is received by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Part XVII Entry Into Force
The present Convention shall enter into force on the date when 21 States of which 7 shall each have a total tonnage of not less than 1,000,000 gross tons of shipping, have become parties to tie Convention in accordance with Article 57.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations will inform all States invited to the United Nations Maritime Conference and such other States as may have become Members, of the date when each State becomes party to the Convention, and also of the date on which the Convention enters into force.
The present Convention, of which the English, French and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who will transmit certified copies thereof to each of the States invited to the United Nations Maritime Conference and to such other States as may have become Members.
The United Nations is authorized to effect registration of the Convention as soon as it comes into force.
In witness whereof the undersigned being duly authorized by their respective Governments for that purpose have signed the present Convention.
Done at Geneva this sixth day of March 1948.
1 See p. 104 of this volume.
1 United Nations, Treaty Series, Vol. 33, p. 261; Vol. 43, p. 342; Vol. 46, p. 355; Vol. 51, p. 330; Vol. 71, p. 316; Vol. 76, p. 274; Vol. 79, p. 326; Vol. 81, p. 332; Vol. 84, p. 412; Vol. 88, p. 446; Vol. 90, p. 323; Vol. 91, p. 376; Vol. 92, p. 400; Vol. 96, p. 322; Vol. 101, p. 288; Vol. 102, p. 322; Vol. 109, p. 319; Vol. 110, p. 314; Vol. 117, p. 386; Vol. 122, p. 335; Vol. 127, p. 328; Vol. 131, p. 309; Vol. 136, p. 386; Vol. 161, p. 364; Vol. 168, p. 322; Vol. 171, p. 412; Vol. 175, p. 364; Vol. 183, p. 348; Vol. 187, p. 415; Vol. 193, p. 342; Vol. 199, p. 314; Vol. 202, p. 321; Vol. 207, p. 328; Vol. 211, p. 388; Vol. 216, p. 367; Vol. 221, p. 409; Vol. 231, p. 350; Vol. 275, Vol. 276, Vol. 277, Vol. 280, Vol. 282 and Vol. 286.
1 See p. 104 of this volume.