(A). Audit means a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled.

(B). Audit Scheme means the IMO Member State Audit Scheme established by the Organization and taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(C). Code for Implementation means the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code) adopted by the Organization by resolution A.1070(28).

(D). Audit Standard means the Code for Implementation.


IMO was established to adopt legislation and Governments are responsible for implementing them. When a Government accepts an IMO Convention it agrees to make it part of its national law and to enforce all of the provisions contained therein.

IMO’s Sub-Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III) or (Code III) has a remit to review issues relating to implementation, and its tasks include:

  1. Review the rights and obligations of States emanating from the IMO treaty instruments;
  2. Assess, monitor and review the current level of implementation of IMO instruments by States in their capacity as flag, port and coastal States, with a view to identifying areas where States may have difficulties in fully implementing them;
  3. Identify the reasons for the difficulties in implementing provisions of relevant IMO instruments, taking into account any relevant information collected through, inter alia, the assessment of performance, the investigation of marine casualties and incidents and port State control (PSC) data, while paying particular attention to difficulties faced by developing countries;
  4. Consider proposals to assist States in implementing and complying with IMO instruments by the development of appropriate instruments, guidelines and recommendations.
  5. Analyse investigation reports into marine casualties and incidents and maintain an efficient and comprehensive knowledge-based mechanism to support the identification of trends and feed into the IMO rule-making process;
  6. Review IMO standards on maritime safety and security and the protection of the marine environment, to maintain an updated and harmonized guidance on survey and certification related requirements;
  7. Promote global harmonization of PSC activities.


Under the general provisions of treaty law and of IMO conventions, States are responsible for promulgating laws and regulations and for taking all other steps which may be necessary to give those instruments full and complete effect so as to ensure safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment.

In taking measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment, States should act so as not to transfer, directly or indirectly, damage or hazards from one area to another or transform one type of pollution into another.

IMO Instruments

The applicable IMO instruments related to the areas listed below should be covered by audits for the purpose of determining how the relevant obligations and responsibilities relating to maritime safety and protection of the environment are carried out by Member States, with a view to further enhancing their performance:

  1. Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS 1974 and its 1988 Protocol);
  2. Prevention of Pollution from ships (MARPOL);
  3. Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW 1978);
  4. Load Lines (LL 66 and its 1988 Protocol);
  5. Tonnage measurement of ships (Tonnage 1969);
  6. Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREG 1972).

With regard to the STCW Convention, as amended, the audit should not seek to duplicate existing mandatory audit requirements contained in that Convention. Only the aspects of that Convention that are specified therein should be covered by audits.