THE International Maritime Organization has urged member states to accept amendments to the IMO convention to expand the size of the council from 40 to 52 members.

It follows a resolution adopted by the IMO Assembly in December last year, stating that two thirds of the IMO’s 175 member states are required to accept the amendments for them to come into force.

The resolution encouraged members to accept the amendments as soon as possible with the goal of enacting them by 2025.  

Reflecting the increasing membership of the IMO in recent decades, the proposed expansion aims to support the attainment of a representative, balanced, diverse and efficient council.

The council would have the capacity to support the interests of the whole membership and ensure the representation of all the major geographic areas of the world.

Once the amendments enter into force, the IMO council will increase by 12 states, allocated to three categories of member states specified in the Convention on the International Maritime Organization.  

The categories refer to states with the largest interest in providing international shipping services; states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade; and states which have interests in maritime transport, supporting the representation of all major geographic areas globally.

Australia is one of the ten council members currently comprising the category of states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade.

An amendment to the convention would also extend the term of its members to four years, the equivalent of two consecutive regular sessions of the IMO assembly.

It would also recognise three additional language texts as authentic versions of the IMO convention, namely Arabic, Chinese and Russian.

The additional languages would supplement the current authentic texts, which are in English, French, and Spanish.

The proposed amendments apply to articles 16, 17, 18, 19(b) and 81 of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization.