THE MARINE MAMMAL COMMISSION COMPENDIUM
MULTILATERAL / MARINE POLLUTION
Volume(s) 1-3; pages 1623-1636
Convention on the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization, Geneva, 1948
Done at Geneva 6 March 1948
Entered into force 17 March 1958
Depositary: Secretary-General of the United Nations
Primary source citation: 9 UST 621, TIAS 4044
CONVENTION ON THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL MARITIME CONSULTATIVE ORGANIZATION
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
The functions of the Organization shall be consultative and advisory.
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.
No State or territory may become or remain a Member of the Organization contrary to a resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
PART IV Organs
The Organization shall consist of an Assembly, a Council, a Maritime Safety Committee, and such subsidiary organs as the Organization may at any time consider necessary; and a Secretariat.
PART V The Assembly
The Assembly shall consist of all the Members.
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 a 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 I 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 Members, 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.
Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council shall perform all the functions of the Organization, except the function of making recommendations under Article 16 (i).
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 coordination 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 to 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.
The Maritime Safety Committee shall invite any Member to participate, without vote, in its deliberations on any matter of particular concern to that Member.
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.
The Secretary-General shall perform such other tasks as may be assigned to him by the Convention, the Assembly, the Council and the Maritime Safety Committee.
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.
Any Member which fails to discharge its financial obligation to the Organization within one year from the date on which it is due, shall have no vote in the Assembly, the Council, or the Maritime Safety Committee unless the Assembly, at its discretion, waives this provision.
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
(a) The headquarters of the Organization shall be established in London.
(b) The Assembly may by a two-thirds majority vote change the site of the headquarters if necessary.
(c) The Assembly may hold sessions in any place other than the headquarters if the Council deems it necessary.
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, co-operate 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, 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 38 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 II to the present Convention.
PART XIV Amendments
Texts 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.
Any legal question which cannot be settled as provided in Article 55 shall be referred by the Organization to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion in accordance with Article 96 of the Charter of the United Nations.
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;
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 the 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
APPENDIX I (Referred to in Article 17) Composition of the First Council
In accordance with the principles set forth in Article 17 the first Council shall be constituted as follows:
(a) The six Members under Article 17 (a) being
Greece Sweden Netherlands United Kingdom Norway United States
(b) The six Members under Article 17 (b) being
Argentina Canada Australia France Belgium India
(c) Two Members to be elected by the Assembly under Article 17 (c) from a panel nominated by the six Members named in paragraph (a) of this Appendix.
(d) Two Members elected by the Assembly under Article 17 (d) from among the Members having a substantial interest in international seaborne trade.
APPENDIX II (referred to in Article 51) Legal Capacity, Privileges and Immunities
The following provisions on legal capacity, privileges and immunities shall be applied by Members to, or in connection with, the Organization pending their accession to the General Convention on Privileges and Immunities of Specialized Agencies in respect of the Organization.
The Organization shall enjoy in the territory of each of its Members such legal capacity as is necessary for the fulfilment of its purposes and the exercise of its functions.
(a) The Organization shall enjoy in the territory of each of its Members such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the fulfilment of its purposes and the exercise of its functions.
(b) Representatives of Members including alternates and advisers, and officials and employees of the Organization shall similarly enjoy such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the independent exercise of their functions in connection with the Organization.
In applying the provisions of Sections 1 and 2 of this Appendix, the Members shall take into account as far as possible the standard clauses of the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Specialized Agencies.