The IMO are the initials of the International Maritime Organization. This organism was created by the Organization of the United Nations in 1948 and it is in charge of the safety and security at sea and also of the environmental safety of the seas.
The number of Member States on the IMO is currently 172 (2017) and it also counts with 3 Associate Members.
What’s the difference between a member state and an associate member?
If we check the FAQs of the IMO webpage, we will find how to become a member of the IMO:
How can I become a member of the IMO?
“Only a country can become a Member of IMO.”
Then, what is an associate member?
If we see the Member list of the page, the 3 Associate Members are:
- Hong Kong, China.
- Macao, China.
The three of them have one thing in common, and it is that they are autonomous countries/territories, which depend on another sovereign state.
So, Associate Members will be those territories that depend on a sovereign state which is a Member of the IMO.
This concept can be described in the Convention on the International Maritime Organization (IMO), part 3, article 8:
Any Territory or group of Territories to which the Convention has been made applicable under Article 72, 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.”
What is the structure of the IMO?
The Organization consists of an Assembly, a Council, five main committees and a number of sub-committees for supporting the work of the main committees.
Those main committees are:
- The Maritime Safety Committee.
- The Marine Environment Protection Committee.
- The Legal Committee.
- The Technical Cooperation Committee.
- The Facilitation Committee.