What is International Maritime Dangerous Goods or IMDG code?

Written by Amit Sharma

The IMDG code is a very much living document and gets amended from time to time (every 2 years). In the last decade major changes were made to Ems-emergency medical schedule, MFAG and INF codes (carriage of nuclear materials)
IMDG Code means the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee of the Organization by resolution MSC.122(75)
The objective of the IMDG Code is to enhance the safe carriage of dangerous goods while facilitating the free unrestricted movement of such goods and prevent pollution to the environment

  • It gives a uniform international code of dangerous goods for transportation by sea
  • It gives methods of packing in packets or in container, stowage and segregation of incompatible substances.


Legal status of IMDG code
  • The IMDG code is a legal document under chapter VII part a of SOLAS 1974 as amended.
  • Regulation VII/1.3 prohibits the carriage of dangerous goods by sea except when carried in accordance with the IMDG code.
  • MARPOL 73/78, annex III, regulation 1(2) prohibits the carriage of harmful substances in ships except when carried in accordance with the IMDG code.
Application and implementation of  IMDG Code

The provisions contained in this Code are applicable to all ships to which the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS 74), as amended, applies and which are carrying dangerous goods as defined in regulation 1 of part A of chapter VII of that Convention.

The provisions of regulation II-2/19 of that Convention apply to passenger ships and to cargo ships constructed on or after 1 July 2002. For:

  1. A passenger ship constructed on or after 1 September 1984 but before 1 July 2002; or
  2. A cargo ship of 500 gross tons or over constructed on or after 1 September 1984 but before 1 July 2002; or
  3. A cargo ship of less than 500 gross tons constructed on or after 1 February 1992 but before 1 July 2002,
  4. For cargo ships of less than 500 gross tons constructed on or after 1 September 1984 and before 1 February 1992, it is recommended that Contracting Governments extend such application to these cargo ships as far as possible.
  5. All ships, irrespective of type and size, carrying substances, material or articles identified in this Code as marine pollutants are subject to the provisions of this Code.
The aim of IMDG code are :
  • To regulate the transport by sea of dangerous goods to reasonably prevent injury to person or damage to the ship.
  • To regulate transport by sea of marine pollutant to prevent harm to the marine environment.
The contents of IMDG code:-

The code is composed of 7 parts. The code is presented in two books, volume 1 and volume 2

It is necessary to use both books to obtain the required information when shipping dangerous goods by sea.

About the author

Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.

1 Comment

  • ”6.INF code – International code for the safe carriage of packaged irradiated nuclear fuel ,
    7.plutonium and high level radioactive waves on board ships.”

    this is comes under the topic of ”What is International Maritime Dangerous Goods or IMDG code?”

    6 and 7 should me a one line also instead of waves it shall be corrected as wastes

    this is really very a helpful site

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