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The U.S. Coast Guard represents the U.S. at meetings of the International Maritime Organization, otherwise known as, the IMO. The IMO committee that is responsible for maritime safety is the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC). The two subcommittees under the MSC having responsibility for maritime communications and radionavigation are the Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue (COMSAR) Subcommittee and the Safety of Navigation (NAV) Subcommittee, both of which meet about once per year. The Coast Guard holds public advisory meetings, called Shipping Coordination Committee and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) working group meetings, in Washington, DC in preparation for the IMO meetings in London. The SOLAS working group meeting for Radiocommunications and Search and Rescue, generally meets monthly, on the third Thursday of the month. The MSC Shipping Coordination Committee meeting and the SOLAS working group for Navigation, generally meets less frequently and these meetings are open to the public. You may also contact the IMO directly for copies of conventions, codes, Assembly Resolutions and other information.

The Global Maritime Distress & Safety System, or GMDSS, Since SOLAS Chapter IV, defines an international maritime safety telecommunications system having treaty status, that chapter has become the architect for maritime telecommunications used by vessels not regulated by SOLAS, such as recreational boaters and commercial fishing vessels. Although GMDSS was designed primarily for ships subject to the SOLAS Convention, it will also affect safety telecommunications of all vessels.

For additional information about the IMO, visit’s IMO page.

Mailing Address:

International Maritime Organization
4 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7SR UK

Telephone, fax, and email:

tel: +44 171 735-7611
fax: 587-3210 (general enquiries), 587-3241 (publication sales)
email general equiries:
email publication sales:

IMO Website: