[Model Answer QP2023 GS2] ‘See is an important component of the cosmos ‘. Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO (international Maritime Organisation international Maritime Organisation,)in protecting in environment and enhancing maritime safety and security.


The sea, encompassing over 70% of our planet’s surface, plays a pivotal role in regulating the Earth’s climate, supporting biodiversity, and driving global economies. Recognizing its importance, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has been at the forefront of ensuring that maritime activities remain safe, environmentally friendly, and secure.

IMO- Environmental Protection:

1. MARPOL Convention: The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the primary IMO treaty addressing pollution from ships. It includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships – both accidental and from routine operations.

2. Ballast Water Management: The IMO adopted the Ballast Water Management Convention, which mandates standards and procedures to manage and treat ballast water in ships. This prevents the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can harm local ecosystems.

3. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Recognizing the significant contributions of ships to global greenhouse gas emissions, the IMO has set out to reduce the total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050.

4. Anti-fouling Systems: The IMO’s International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships aims to prohibit the use of harmful substances in anti-fouling paints used on ships, protecting the marine environment.

IMO- Enhancing Maritime Safety

1. SOLAS Convention: The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is the most important treaty addressing maritime safety. It specifies minimum standards for the construction, equipment, and operation of ships.

2. STCW Convention: The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers ensures that seafarers are trained to the necessary standards, thereby promoting safety at sea.

3. Navigation and Communication: The IMO has standards in place for safe navigation, especially important in congested sea routes and narrow or tricky straits. Systems like the Automatic Identification System (AIS) help in tracking and avoiding collisions.

IMO- Maritime Security

1. ISPS Code: After the 9/11 attacks in the US, the IMO adopted the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, which sets forth measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities.

2. Piracy and Armed Robbery: The IMO works in collaboration with countries and international agencies to address piracy and armed robbery against ships, especially in vulnerable areas like the Gulf of Guinea and the coast of Somalia.

3. Legal Framework: The IMO provides a framework for states to cooperate in detaining ships, prosecuting pirates, or those who endanger maritime security.


The sea is an invaluable resource, and its protection and sustainable use are essential for future generations. Through its multifaceted conventions and proactive approach, the IMO plays a significant role in ensuring that maritime activities remain sustainable, safe, and secure. It not only underlines the sea’s importance but also emphasizes that its vastness doesn’t translate to lawlessness or a disregard for the environment.

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