Maritime Legislation


The 4 Pillars of Maritime Regulation

Together, the IMO and the ILO have brought about four main conventions which form the foundation of maritime regulation and contribute to the IMO’s mission to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient, and sustainable shipping through cooperation.

The pdf files below may not reflect the most recent version of the amended conventions. For the most recent texts of the SOLAS, MARPOL, STCW, and MLC conventions, and all related amendments, please refer to the official websites of the International Maritime Organisation and the International Labour Organisation.


The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006), entered into force in 2013 with the goal of establishing the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship. The convention covers recruitment practices, conditions of employment, requirements for living conditions such as accommodation and food, as well as health and safety, medical care, welfare, and social security.

INTERNATIONAL LABOUR CONFERENCE, including 2018 amendments



The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) was adopted in 1978 with the aim of streamlining requirements and competencies for the training and certification of seagoing personnel. The convention in all its following amendments establishes international standards for training, certification, and watchkeeping for seafarers




The first version of the Convention for the Safety of Life at SEA (SOLAS), was drafted in 1914, in response to the sinking of the Titanic. The convention in all its subsequent forms is considered the most important instrument for regulating the safety of merchant ships. The convention in force today is referred to as SOLAS, 1974, as amended, and sets minimum standards for the construction, equipment, and operation of ships with a specific focus on safety.



The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), adopted in its first form in 1973 and amended in 1978 and 1997, sets provisions for the prevention and minimisation of all pollution of the marine environment by ships, deriving from ship operations or accidental causes. The convention covers the control of pollution by oil, noxious liquid substances in bulk, harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, as well as sewage, garbage, and air pollution from ships.