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IMO (International Maritime Organization) & IMO-Dangerous Goods Declaration Form

Published 09 Jun 2021

IMO (International Maritime Organization) & IMO-Dangerous Goods Declaration Form

IMO (International Maritime Organization) & IMO-Dangerous Goods Declaration Form

International shipping transports more than 80 per cent of global trade to peoples and communities all over the world. Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation for most goods, and it is statistically, the least environmentally damaging mode of transport, when its productive value is taken into consideration. For example, the vast quantity of grain required to make the world’s daily bread could not be transported any other way than by ship. Moreover, set against land-based industry, shipping is a minor contributor to marine pollution from human activities.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

IMO (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 following agreement at a UN conference held in Geneva in 1948 and came into existence ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO currently has 174 member states and three associate members.

As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

What Is The Mission Of IMO?

The purposes of the Organization, as summarized by Article 1(a) of the Convention, are "to provide machinery for cooperation among Governments in the field of governmental regulation and practices relating to technical matters of all kinds affecting shipping engaged in international trade; to encourage and facilitate the general adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety, efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of marine pollution from ships". The Organization is also empowered to deal with administrative and legal matters related to these purposes.


IMO measures cover all aspects of international shipping – including ship design, construction, equipment, manning, operation and disposal – to ensure that this vital sector for remains safe, environmentally sound, energy efficient and secure.


Through IMO, the Organization’s Member States, civil society and the shipping industry are working together to ensure a continued and strengthened contribution towards a green economy and growth in a sustainable manner.


IMO's Efforts To Prevent Marine Pollution

Although safety was and remains IMO's most important responsibility, a new problem began to emerge - pollution. As the custodian of the 1954 International Convention for the prevention of pollution of the sea by oil (OILPOL Convention), the Organization assumed responsibility for pollution issues soon after it began functioning in 1959.

Over many years, adopted a wide range of measures to prevent and control pollution caused by ships and to mitigate the effects of any damage that may occur as a result of maritime operations and accidents. It also tackled the environmental threat caused by routine operations such as the cleaning of oil cargo tanks and the disposal of engine room wastes-in tonnage terms a bigger menace than accidental pollution.

These measures have been shown to be successful in reducing ship-sourced pollution and illustrate the commitment of the Organization and the shipping industry towards protecting the environment.  Of the 51 treaty instruments for the regulation of international shipping IMO has adopted so far, 21 are directly environment-related.

What Is “IMO Dangerous Goods Declaration Form”?

Shipping dangerous goods internationally by vessel is regulated through the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO uses the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Regulations Code (IMDG Code) as the basis for international enforcement of dangerous goods transportation by vessel. These regulations are amended every two years with each amendment valid for three years.

The IMDG Code requires the following:

A declaration from the consignor stating that the particular dangerous goods declared are identified, classified, packaged, marked, labeled and placarded correctly.

A declaration from the person packing the container to ensure it has been done correctly.

The Dangerous Goods Declaration and container packing certificate can be in any format, but must be in accordance with Chapter 5.4 of the IMDG-Code. For convenience, the Dangerous Goods Declaration can be combined with the container packing certificate into one document.

Ship Accidents - One Of The Causes Of Marine Pollution

Torrey Canyon Oil Tanker Accident 1967

The growth in the amount of oil being transported by sea and in the size of oil tankers was of concern at the time and the Torrey Canyon disaster of 1967, in which tonnes of oil was spilled, demonstrated the scale of the problem. The resulting marine pollution was the worst disaster ever seen.

The Torrey Canyon oil spill was one of the world's most serious oil spills and it remains the worst spill in UK history. The supertanker SS Torrey Canyon (297 meters long, 38.2 meters wide, 20.9 meters deep) ran aground on rocks off the south-west coast of the United Kingdom in 1967, spilling an estimated 25–36 million gallons (94–164 million litres) of crude oil. Hundreds of miles of coastline in Britain, France, Guernsey, and Spain were affected by the oil.

This disaster led to significant changes in maritime law and oil spill responses and the measures to be taken on tankers began to be tightened even more. MARPOL (Maritime Pollution Code) was accepted by IMO after this accident.

X-Press Pearl Shipwreck 2021 – Pollution In Indian Ocean

It is very sad that we are experiencing the X-Press Pearl shipwreck, which is shown as one of the biggest marine pollution disasters in the world, just at a time while we celebrate World Environment Day and World Ocean Day.

The Singapore-registered X-Press Pearl - a cargo ship carrying chemicals and plastic pellets - was burning off the coast of Sri Lanka for nearly two weeks since end of May, 2021.

The vessel had been carrying nearly 350 tons of fuel, along with other chemicals and cosmetics, when it caught fire on 20 May. Total 1,486 containers. Eighty-one of those were dangerous goods containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid. According to MEPA, there were three containers of plastic pellets on board the ship, each weighing 26,000 kilograms (57,000 lb).

Sri Lanka has temporarily banned fishing along a 50-mile stretch of its coast, where nitric acid has leaked into the water, and plastic pellets have washed up ashore. Health experts and MEPA warned that there are possibilities for mild acid rains in Sri Lanka due to the emission of nitrogen dioxide.  People were also urged by MEPA to not touch any debris of the container ship which is contaminated with toxic substances.

It was reported that the container ship had been submerged into the sea which would trigger adverse effects to the marine species. Dead fish and turtles started to wash up on Sri Lanka's beaches. Fishing and tourism activities in the region have been interrupted.