Verification of compliance

(A). Every Contracting Party shall be subject to periodic audits by the Organization in accordance with the audit standard to verify compliance with and implementation of the present Convention.

(B). The Secretary-General of the Organization shall have responsibility for administering the Audit Scheme, based on the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(C). Every Contracting Party shall have responsibility for facilitating the conduct of the audit and implementation of a programme of actions to address the findings, based on the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(D). Audit of all Contracting Parties shall be:

  1. Based on an overall schedule developed by the Secretary-General of the Organization, taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization;
  2. Conducted at periodic intervals, taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization.


Obligations and responsibilities

The Audit should cover those obligations and responsibilities contained in the applicable IMO instruments, to the extent that such instruments have entered into force for the Member State and under which the Member State is required to act in its capacity as flag, port and coastal State.

The obligations and responsibilities should be such that measures related to maritime safety and protection of the environment and which are undertaken by the Member State can be audited, in accordance with the audit standard.

Areas to be covered by the audit

The audit will cover the Member State’s implementation and enforcement of applicable IMO instruments in its legislation; the effectiveness of its control and monitoring mechanism; effectiveness in promulgating IMO rules and regulations; enforcement action for the contravention of its laws and regulations; and other obligations and responsibilities under the applicable instruments.


With due regard to the implementation and enforcement of IMO instruments, the administrative, legal and technical areas which should provide the minimum scope for an audit are:

  1. Jurisdiction;
  2. Organization and authority;
  3. Legislation, rules and regulations;
  4. Promulgation of IMO instruments, rules and regulations;
  5. Enforcement arrangements;
  6. Control, survey, inspection, audit, verification, approval and certification functions;
  7. Selection, recognition, authorization, empowerment and monitoring of recognized organizations, as appropriate, and of nominated surveyors;
  8. Investigations required to be reported to the Organization; and
  9. Reporting to the Organization and other Administrations.

In those instances where work to give effect to the Member State’s responsibilities is divided between different organizations or offices, audits should address whether the respective tasks are clearly defined and should be conducted on a technical basis with the entities assigned those tasks.


The Secretary-General is responsible for:

  1. Administering the audit scheme;
  2. Formal appointment and maintenance of an appropriate list of audit team leaders and auditors;
  3. Establishing an audit team for each Member State audit;
  4. Ensuring that audit team leaders and auditors are competent as defined in section 4 of the Procedures;
  5. Ensuring that audit team members meet required standards of training to achieve consistency in the quality of audits;
  6. Concluding a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Member State to be audited, prior to the audit;
  7. Ensuring that the audit team is provided with all pertinent information to facilitate smooth and efficient conduct of the audit;
  8. Ensuring that the audits are planned in accordance with the overall IMO audit schedule;
  9. Liaising with and assisting developing and least developed countries to gather resources from external sources such as the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP);
  10. Ensuring that the Member State to be audited is offered the opportunity of receiving a visit by the audit team leader in advance of the actual audit, in order to be provided with information about the intention behind the scheme, the scope of the audit, how such an audit is carried out, and all other information needed to enhance understanding and cooperation between the audit team and the Member State to be audited;
  11. Communicating the agreed executive summary report to all Member States or the public;
  12. Ensuring the preparation of consolidated audit summary reports in a standardized format to be issued on a periodic basis in support of the work of the Organization;
  13. Maintaining appropriate records of the findings and observations of the actual audits of Member States;
  14. Managing the audit scheme and possible follow-ups.

The Member State is responsible for:

  1. Fully facilitating the audit, in accordance with the Memorandum of Cooperation;
  2. Agreeing with the Secretary-General on the person who is to be the audit team leader and on the total membership of the audit team;
  3. Responding to audit team findings by preparing a programme of actions;
  4. Authorizing the release of the executive summary report, corrective action plan and Member State comments on the progress of implementation of the corrective action plan, prior to the audit;
  5. Implementing a programme of actions to address the findings, which should not exceed three years after the completion of the audit; and
  6. Informing the Secretary-General when action to address a finding is completed.

The audit team leader is responsible for:

  1. The detailed planning of the actual audit;
  2. Ensuring that the audit team is fully acquainted with pertinent information regarding the audit;
  3. The conduct of audit interviews and meetings, etc. in accordance with the Procedures, and assigning and maintaining overall responsibility over the other team members conducting such interviews, meetings, etc.;
  4. Preparing and completing the audit reports (interim and final) and the mission report;
  5. Reporting details of any finding and/or observation to the audited Member State;
  6. Preparing and agreeing with the Member State the executive summary report to be submitted to the Secretary-General;
  7. Assisting in the verification of corrective actions taken by the Member State
  8. Conducting a follow-up audit, as appropriate.


In order to obtain the full benefits from the scheme, consideration of capacity-building matters is essential, particularly in respect of human and financial resources. Where appropriate, Member States will be assisted in order to prepare for the audit and to address audit findings.

Capacity building includes an adequate supply of suitably trained personnel with maritime and audit skills, as well as the required software systems. The need for infrastructural facilities, defined as workspace, utilities and communication systems relevant to meeting the initial needs of the audit and ultimately the aims of the scheme, must also be taken into account.

Technical assistance will become part of the process with a view to facilitating:

  1. The preparation of the audit;
  2. The identification of obstacles to completing the audit;
  3. The effective implementation of actions to address the findings of the audit; and
  4. Any related capacity building.

Technical assistance may, inter alia, include the following:

  1. Training;
  2. Exchange programmes;
  3. Provision of experts; and
  4. Participation of observers during the conduct of audits in other Member States.

Account should also be taken of the need to ensure participation by maritime and auditing experts from developing countries in the audit process. Arrangements should be made for the training of internal auditors who may subsequently become part of audit teams.