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The International Maritime Organization (IMO), known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) until 1982,[3] was established in Geneva in 1948,and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with 170 Member States and three Associate Members.[3] The IMO's primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co- operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. IMO is governed by an Assembly of members and is financially administered by a Council of members elected from the Assembly. The work of IMO is conducted through five committees and these are supported by technical subcommittees. Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO. Observer status is granted to qualified non-governmental organizations. IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of its members. The secretariat is composed of a Secretary-General who is periodically elected by the Assembly, and various divisions such as those for marine safety, environmental protection, and a conference section.

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