The 26th Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will meet in London at the IMO Headquarters from Nov. 23 to Dec. 4 2009.

All 169 Member States and three Associate Members are entitled to attend the Assembly, which is IMO’s governing body. The intergovernmental organizations with which agreements of co-operation have been concluded and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO are also invited to attend.

The Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. It also elects the 40-Member Council.

The Assembly will review the work carried out by the Organization during the biennium 2008‑2009, through the Council, the five IMO Committees and the Secretariat.

Highlights include the adoption, in May this year, of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009; the adoption, in October 2008, of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to significantly reduce the emission of air pollutants from ships; the significant efforts made to develop a regulatory regime to address greenhouse gas emissions from ships and to prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships; and the successful delivery of IMO’s capacity building activities in developing countries.

The Organization’s updated strategic and high-level action plans and the related results-based budget for 2010-2011 will be presented to the Assembly for adoption.

A number of draft resolutions have been submitted by the Maritime Safety, Marine Environment Protection, Legal and Facilitation Committees for adoption by the Assembly, which will also consider, for adoption, any resolutions submitted by the Council’s 25th Extraordinary Session, which meets from 19 to 20 November. The topics covered by such resolutions include:

· Further development of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme;
· Piracy in waters off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden;
· Guidelines for ships operating in polar waters;
· Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units, 2009 (2009 MODU Code);
· Code on Alerts and Indicators, 2009;
· Issuance of bunkers certificates by States to ships registered in a bareboat registry;
· Technical co-operation;
· Application and revision of the guidelines on the allocation of responsibilities to seek the successful resolution of stowaway cases;
· Revised Code for the Implementation of Mandatory IMO Instruments; and
· Revised Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification.