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IMCA’s priority areas at the IMO

Published on 29 September 2019

The IMO’s work falls under three main regulatory areas – safety, environmental protection, and security. All are highly relevant to IMCA and its members.

IMCA has long held consultative status at the IMO. Through IMCA’s representative our members have a voice at the IMO who engages in discussions and submits positioning papers on key areas which affect members and their businesses.

Each year there are about 25 weeks of meetings at the IMO during which legislation and regulations impacting the maritime world are drafted, discussed and reviewed/amended to reflect current industry practice or to address a pressing regulatory need.

The vast majority are relevant to IMCA and its’ members, in fact the only area of IMO’s work which doesn’t concern IMCA members relates to the fishing industry. In addition to attending relevant meetings IMCA is involved in producing Industry Standards on a variety of maritime issues.

NGOs, like ourselves at IMCA, are very much the source of guidance and information for the 174 IMO Member States. In addition, we engage with key member state representatives on behalf of our members and lobby for support on key issues impacting upon the offshore sector.

IMCA Contact

Margaret Fitzgerald
Head of Legal & Regulatory Affairs

Margaret Fitzgerald explores IMCA’s priorities at the IMO – safety, environmental protection and security.

Environmental Protection

IMO 2020 – IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) has adopted a raft of resolutions addressing various issues surrounding the implementation of the 0.5% limit for the Sulphur content of fuel on 1 January 2020.

We have listed the package of instruments in connection with this at; and also provided a full briefing to Members.

Reduction of Green House Gasses (GHG) – IMCA is actively engaging with IMO’s ‘Initial Strategy on the reduction of Green House Gas (GHGs) Emissions from Ships’, adopted in April 2018 which envisages a reduction in total GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels, while pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely.

In May 2019 IMCA ran an impressive, profile-raising photographic exhibition at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) showcasing innovative vessels and working methods employed by our members to improve energy efficiency of their vessels and reduce their GHG emissions which was not only viewed by the Member States but also the IMO Secretary-General, Kitak Lim.

Plastic – IMCA is part of IMO’s Correspondence Group established to develop a Strategy to address marine plastic litter from ships. This work is being followed closely by both IMCA’s Marine Policy and Regulatory Affairs Committee (MPRA) as well as its’ Environmental Sustainability Committee’.


A key focus area here is the Revision of the IMO Diving Code and associated Guidelines. Work has started at IMCA level, with several workshops being led by IMCA members together with interested IMO Member States.  An output from the workshops is a paper providing new recommendations to the IMO. IMCA has actively participated in the work under way on the development of the Industrial Personnel (IP) Code involving various rounds of revisions. The draft code will be considered in detail at the Sub-committee on Ship Design and Construction (SDC) in Spring 2020.


On the security front, we co-sponsored a seminar on Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. There is so much on the agenda at IMO that is relevant to IMCA members, the focus of our work has widened and really ramped up this year and 2020 will be no exception as it marks the start of the crucial 2020-2030 decade during which IMO will be introducing mid-term measures to reduce carbon intensity of the world fleet by at least 40%. Then there is the whole issue of autonomous vessels (MASS) for which IMO is engaged in a scoping exercise.

IMCA will continue to raise awareness with its members about all these areas and is always trying to engage members to become more involved – we need their input, their voice and crucially their examples to use in papers set before IMO.