The International Maritime Organization, known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization until 1982, is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. The IMO was established in Geneva in 1948 and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO has 171 Member States and three Associate Members.The IMO's primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. IMO is governed by an assembly of members and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical subcommittees. Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO. Observer status is granted to qualified non-governmental organizations.IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of the organization's members. The secretariat is composed of a Secretary-General who is periodically elected by the assembly, and various divisions such as those for marine safety, environmental protection and a conference section.HistorySOLASInter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization was formed to fulfill a desire to bring the regulation of the safety of shipping into an international framework, for which the creation of the United Nations provided an opportunity. Hitherto such international conventions had been initiated piecemeal, notably the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, first adopted in 1914 following the Titanic disaster. IMCO's first task was to update that Convention; the resulting 1960 Convention was subsequently recast and updated in 1974 and it is that Convention that has been subsequently modified and updated to adapt to changes in safety requirements and technology.
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