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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

International Mobile Satellite Organization


In March 2007, the IMSO Assembly of Parties decided to “provisionally apply” two sets of amendments to the IMSO Convention approved by the Assembly in September 2006: 1) a set of detailed amendments that would expand the IMSO's scope of oversight to include all mobile satellite service providers, specifically in the context of provision of capacity for the "Global Maritime Distress and Safety System", or "GMDSS"; and 2) a single amendment to the purpose of the organization that would permit it to "assume functions and/or duties of Coordinator of Long Range Identification and Tracking of Ships" ("LRIT").  The U.S. did not join this Assembly decision and is not, therefore, subject to the implementation of those amendments (in accordance with the IMSO Convention, no government can be bound by amendments that it does not ratify itself). This use of “provisional application” does not eliminate the formal ratification process prescribed under Article 18 of the IMSO Convention, which requires formal written acceptance by at least two-thirds of the member governments before the amendments can be brought into force.

In the meantime, the U.S. has been pursuing support for new amendments to the IMSO Convention in order to address concerns about governance, accountability and funding associated with the proposed new IMSO roles (which were insufficiently addressed in the amendments adopted at the 18th Assembly). Draft amendments proposed by the U.S. have been reviewed and modified by the IMSO Advisory Committee as well as an informal correspondence committee.

Related Sites
International Maritime Organization
The International Mobile Satellite Organization


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