We all have heard of car registration numbers. However, very few of us know that ships have a registration number too. We will now discuss about the same. The concept of a ship’s registration number is very different from a car’s number. These numbers are called IMO numbers and are assigned by the IMO
History of IMO
International maritime organisation or (IMO) in the year 1987 adopted a new resolution. In this resolution they decided to number all the ships across the world. This will help them to track the vessels. This will also ensure safety of the vessels. Maritime fraud can also be controlled by using these numbers. We will now discuss what is IMO number of a ship? The IMO numbers did work and they indeed played a vital role in controlling the ships.
Format of IMO Number
The IMO number of a ship starts with IMO, these three letters are common. This is followed by a seven digit number. The unique feature of this number is that if each number is multiplied and added.
The result will end with a number that is similar to the last number in the IMO number. For example if the IMO number of a ship is IMO 7654329 then if we multiply each number and add it the result will be as follows:
7×7 + 6×6 + 5×5 + 4×4 + 3×3 + 2×2 = 139
The number nine remains the same. I hope we have been able to explain the concept. This is a good check point that all the IMO numbers follow. These numbers are allotted by the HIS fairplay. This organisation was originally called Lloyd’s register fairplay. The IMO number is given to any passenger ship that can carry one hundred gross tons or more.
Minimum capacity for IMO number
For commercial vessels these IMO numbers are allotted to the vessels that have three hundred gross tons capacity or more. Next time you board a cruise ship you can easily locate the IMO number on the body of the ship. It is always present in the hull of the ship. This does not mean that this number is assigned only to the hull. This number is meant for the whole body of the ship.
Apart from the ships the IMO number was also allotted to the ship owner or the shipping company. This ensures that the ship or the vessel can be tracked easily. They too get a number that starts with IMO and is followed by a seven digit number.
The IMO number of the shipping company is also mentioned in the certificate of the ship. Both these numbers are equally important. Another important fact is that the IMO number is that it is never assigned to any other ship. It is indeed a unique identification number of a ship. IMO ensures this very strictly. Same numbers if assigned to too many ships can cause unnecessary confusion.
Exceptions in IMO
The IMO number has some exceptions. It is not required for certain vessels. We will discuss them now. Any vessel that only does fishing, any ship that does not have a mechanical propulsion, any yachts that is used for pleasure purpose alone, any ship that is engaged in special service, any air cushion vessels, any hopper barges, any structure that can be classified as a floating dock, any ship that is used for war and belongs to the army, any ship that is completely made of wood, all these ships and vessels don’t require IMO number. They are exempted for various reasons. IMO has some guidelines about these too.
I hope we have been able to give a detailed explanation into what is IMO number of a ship. This number is a vital number and is a good source for tracking the ships all across the world. It is important for the shipping companies to follow these guidelines. These numbers have indeed helped the shipping companies a lot to operate smoothly.