About - IMO Number Requests (2024)

This service is provided by IHS Markit on behalf of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and can be used to:

Search for an existing IMO Registered Owner or Company (DOC) number
Request an IMO Registered Owner or Company (DOC) number
Request an IMO Ship number

IHS Markit is the originating source for these unique identifiers. This data is reproduced by permission of IHS Markit for information purposes only and is provided on the basis of the terms and conditions and permitted data use below.

Service Version 1.1.0

IMO Ship Identification Number Scheme

IHS Markit is the originating source for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ship Number and is the sole authority with responsibility for assigning and validating these numbers. The numbers are issued from the global maritime databases maintained by IHS Markit and consist of a unique seven digit number. IHS Markit manages the scheme on behalf of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

In the 30 years since the introduction of the scheme, the IMO Ship Number has become a universal public reference for ships, and continues to be the unique ship identifier adopted in new systems, such as AIS and LRIT. The IMO ship identification number was adopted on the 19th November 1987 in accordance with IMO Resolution A.600(15), by utilising the then existing Lloyds Register Ship Numbering system. The scheme was made mandatory for all SOLAS vessels under SOLAS regulation XI-1/3.

Consistent with the scheme, IHS Markit assigns IMO Ship Numbers to propelled, sea-going merchant ships of 100 GT and above, with the exception of the following vessels: ships without mechanical means of propulsion, pleasure yachts, ships engaged on special service (e.g. lightships, SAR vessels), hopper barges, air cushion vehicles, floating docks and structures classified in a similar manner, ships of war, troop ships and wooden ships. Recently, the scheme expanded to include fishing vessels of steel and non-steel hull construction, passenger ships of less than 100 GT, high speed passenger craft, and mobile drilling units engaged on international voyages (SOLAS regulation V/19-1); and all motorised inboard fishing vessels of less than 100 GT down to a size limit of 12 meters LOA authorised to operate outside waters under national jurisdiction of the flag state.

The number is inserted on ship certificates listed in SOLAS regulation I/12. Under SOLAS regulation XI - 1/3, the IMO Ship Number is required to be permanently and visibly marked on the ship. Furthermore, IMO MSC/Circ.1142 and MEPC/Circ.425 refer to the marking of the ship's plans, manuals and other documents with the IMO Ship Identification Number, recommending that the originator of such plans, manuals and other documents ensures that the IMO Ship Number is shown there prior to submission for approval by a flag administration authority or a recognised organisation acting on its behalf.

In accordance with IMO Circular Letter 1886/Rev.6, IHS Markit issues IMO Ship Numbers at the confirmed order stage. Shipbuilders and shipowners are encouraged to provide details of all new orders to IHS Markit to facilitate the assignment of the IMO Ship Number at an early stage.

The IMO Ship Number is assigned to the total or greater portion of the hull enclosing the machinery space, which is the deciding factor when determining the Ship IMO number for a vessel, which had undergone major rebuilding work.

The Ship IMO Number is unique to each ship, and is never reassigned to another vessel.

IHS Markit issues IMO Ship Numbers free of charge to shipyards, shipowners/operators, administrations and classification societies. Applications can be made by completing an online form or by downloading a form in Word or PDF format and sending it to ship.imo@ihs.com. A reply is usually sent out within a few working days from the date when the application is received. IHS Markit reserves the right to refuse to assign an IMO Ship Number until all identification criteria have been fulfilled and to make a charge for processing significant numbers of batch requests.

IHS Markit processes Ship IMO Number applications by strict rotation and it is recommended that applicants forward any request at the earliest opportunity. Applications involving more than one ship are accepted on a single ship per form basis only.

IMO Ship Numbers can be verified on IHS Markit products and services. Alternatively, the Equasis free public site (www.equasis.org) and the IMO's own GISIS online site (www.imo.org) can be accessed to view Ship IMO numbers. Both sites are supplied with weekly updates of information from the databases of IHS Markit.

IMO Unique Company and Registered Owner Identification Number Scheme

IHS Markit is the originating source for the IMO Company and Registered Owner Numbers and is the sole authority with responsibility for assigning and validating these numbers. The Numbers are issued from the global maritime databases maintained by IHS Markit and consists of a unique seven digit number. IHS Markit manages this Scheme on behalf of International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The Scheme was introduced in 2004 through the adoption of Resolution MSC.160(78), as a measure to enhance maritime safety, security and environmental protection, and to facilitate the prevention of maritime fraud. The Scheme adopted the then existing IHS Fairplay Company Numbering system.

The purpose of the Scheme is to assign a permanent number for identification purposes to each company and registered owner managing ships of 100GT and above engaged on international voyages. Flag Administrations may also involve ships in the Scheme not engaged on international voyages.

The Scheme becomes mandatory for solas vessels on 1 January 2009 through adoption by Resolution MSC.194(80) of the proposed new SOLAS regulation XI-1/3-1 on the company and registered owner identification number and draft amendments to SOLAS regulation XI-1/5 on the addition of the numbers to the continuous synopsis record (CSR). The Number for Companies will also be added to ISM and ISPS certificates following adoption of resolutions MSC.195(80) and MSC.196(80), respectively.

One number is issued to a company if it undertakes one or both of the following roles:

  • "Company" has the same meaning as in SOLAS regulation IX/1 (the DOC Company) and is the organization on the DOC, SMC or ISPS certificate
  • "Registered Owner" is the owner specified on the ships certificate of registry issued by an Administration

The Number stays the same when a company changes its name, or if its ships are transferred to another flag. When companies merge, IHS Markit will assign the Number of the larger company to the new amalgamated entity, while the Number of the small entity will be frozen and not re-used. The Number remains unchanged, but unused, in the event a company and/or registered owner sells, or otherwise disposes, of its ship(s) and does not begin operating new ship(s). The number will remain unchanged in the event the company and/or registered owner, after having sold or otherwise disposed of its ships, renews ship management at a future date. IHS Markit maintains a history of Companies and Registered Owners of ships on its database.

IHS Markit adopts a Company Name-style Guide for recording company Names on its database. This is to ensure that the formats of names are consistent with language and character sets used by its software and the software of organizations to which it supplies data. However, for clarification, IHS Markit also records the name-style as supplied by administrations for registered owners whose company registration is in the national jurisdiction of the administration. This name-style is supplied as part of the electronic data exchanges between IHS Markit and Administrations which support the Scheme, formalized in IMO Circular Letter 2554/Rev.1.

IMO Numbers for companies and registered owners can be obtained from IHS Markit products and services or can be viewed on the free website www.imonumbers.ihs.com. Numbers for new companies, and amendments to existing companies, can also be requested through this site.

To maintain comprehensive and accurate databases IHS Markit has developed over a period of time a number of key strategic agreements with governmental and inter-governmental organisations. Agreements exist with the International Maritime Organization regarding the issuing of the IMO Ship Number, IMO Company Number and IMO Registered Owner Number. Further information on these numbering schemes, which are managed by IHS Markit on behalf of the IMO, can be found below.

In addition to this, IHS Markit has recently launched a new, versatile and expandable shiptype coding system. The new system takes coding to a new level of detail and was created to meet the demands of both a changing industry and the requirements of those wishing to perform either aggregated analysis or analysis on individual vessel types. The International Maritime Statistics Forum have given their support to the new system which is now being incorporated into our products. Further information can be found below.

Alternatively Download the Setting Industry Standards Brochure (pdf)

Statcode 5 New improved vessel type coding system

There are multiple different vessel type data coding systems in use today. Of all the systems currently maintained, no one system completely meets the requirements of those wishing to perform aggregated obtain a detailed vessel type descriptor for a particular vessel, i.e. the operational users. Many coding systems are now out of date and too inflexible to meet the ever changing technological face of shipping.

A new coding system is needed

A popular coding system that goes some way to meeting user's requirements today is the Statcode, but it doesnt go into enough individual vessel detail. Rather than modify four level coding system and to prevent widescale legacy and time-series problems we concluded that an expansion on the existing system was the way forward. We have therefore kept Statcode and introduced a new level, Level 5, which contains more specific vessel type information (view table below).

The new coding system is called Statcode 5


  • easy to use, versatile, expandable and flexible
  • allows users to perform both simple and complex interrogation across all levels
  • allows specific micro-analysis
  • works in sympathy and enhances existing systems and time-series legacies
  • allows for even further cross-section analysis using new back in coding system
  • will be provided with a full set of vessel type definitions to assist with accurate selection of codes

Industry approval
Key clients and members of the International Maritime Statistics Forum have already lent their support to the new system. It is already being incorporated into our products and all new data production requests are being supplied as Statcode 5 compliant.

Example of Statcode 5
The existing Statcode takes users to Level 4. Below is an example of the new level 5 (items in red are additions):

About - IMO Number Requests (1)

Added functionality
The new Level 5 is in synergy with the previous Level codes and provides extra functionality. Some cargo vessel types span more than one category so grouping these brings benefit to the analytical user. We have introduced a digit reference for hull shape and a two alpha reference to help identify vessels involved in the carriage of particular cargo or are defined in some way by their operation.

For example, the first digit of Level 5 relates to hull structure, eg:

About - IMO Number Requests (2)

The next alpha digit reflects common cargo or operational capabilities, eg:

About - IMO Number Requests (3)

The second alpha digit is an individual identifier:

About - IMO Number Requests (4)

The full code contains hierarchical information from left and right, both ends providing filtering capabilities:

About - IMO Number Requests (5)

Working example
In order to pull out all vessels with the common characteristic of being able to carry cement you would previously had needed to combine several searches across all levels. Now you need only to select any codes with the ending BT and all such vessels will immediately be returned. If you wanted to search for all barges across all kinds of vessel types you would just need to perform a search on hull shape '5'.

The new system is flexible and adaptable. It is designed to meet the needs of a changing maritime industry and to evolve with it.

Statcode 5 - New improved vessel type coding system - The new system is flexible and adaptable.

It is designed to meet the needs of a changing maritime industry and to evolve with it.

About - IMO Number Requests (2024)
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