Iala vts manual
membership now represents most of the world's leading national
maritime authorities whose delegates are widely experienced mariners
and VTS professionals. The VTS Committee is also supported through
participation from relevant international sister organizations. This
ensures that the Committee is able to speak with international authority
on VTS matters and, importantly, to develop new procedures to meet the
emerging needs for modern traffic management and to enhance maritime
The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations serves as the secretariat of the Convention on the Law Of the Sea and provides information, advice and assistance to States with a view to providing a better understanding of the Convention and the related Agreements, their wider acceptance, uniform and consistent application and effective implementation.
The Division monitors all developments relating to the Convention, the law of the sea and ocean affairs, and reports annually to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Although the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is explicitly mentioned in only one of the
articles of UNCLOS (article 2 of Annex VIII), several provisions in the Convention refer to the 'competent international organization' to adopt international shipping rules and standards in matters concerning maritime safety, efficiency of navigation and the prevention of marine pollution from vessels and by dumping.
In such cases, the expression 'competent international
organization', when used in the singular in UNCLOS, applies exclusively to IMO, bearing in mind its global mandate as a specialised agency of the United Nations. It has always been recognized that the best way of improving safety at sea is by developing international regulations that are followed by all shipping nations and from the mid-19th century
onwards a number of such treaties were adopted.
Several countries proposed that a permanent international body should be established to promote maritime safety more effectively, but it was not until the establishment of the United Nations itself that these hopes were realized. In 1948 an international conference in Geneva adopted a convention formally establishing IMO (the original
name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, or IMCO, but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO). The IMO Convention entered into force in 1958 and the new Organization met for the first time the following year.
The purposes of the Organization, as summarized by Article 1(a) of the Convention, are '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; 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.
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