International efforts

The UN body, IMO (International Maritime Organization) is headquartered in London and is made up of a large number of member states with international shipping interests. Organisationally, the IMO is divided into a number of committees and sub-committees with the Assembly and the Council at the top of the organisation. There is also a secretariat whose duties include arranging the practical details of meetings and producing resolutions, codes and other material according to decisions taken at meetings.

Dangerous goods in packaged form and transport of solid bulk cargoes are dealt with by the DSC (Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers). Transport of liquid substances and gases in build are discussed in the BLG (Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases).

Before sub-committee decisions can take force, they must be adopted by the head committees. The MSC (Maritime Safety Committee) and MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) take final decisions regarding dangerous goods.

Subjects discussed by the DSC include amendments to the IMDG and BC Codes. All member states have the opportunity to submit proposed amendments before the meeting and to attend meetings and argue on behalf of their own proposals and discuss those of other States. A number of organisations with observer status also attend meetings.

The IMDG Code is amended every other year and since the Code is so comprehensive, the proposed amendments also tend to be numerous and detailed. To facilitate the incorporation of amendments into the Code, an Editorial and Technical Group (the E&T Group was formed. It meets in conjunction with the DSC to ensure that the adopted amendments are inserted into the Code in a technically and editorially correct way. Sweden is also represented in the E&T Group.

It is important to Sweden to take advantage of opportunities to influence the wording and content of regulations as most of them are incorporated into Swedish legislation and become binding in Swedish territorial waters and on Swedish ships, e.g., through regulations.

More information about meetings is available from the International Secretariat of the Swedish Transport Agency, Maritime Department.