Shipping is one of the safest forms of transportation, and that record is continuously being improved on. This is all the more impressive when you consider the large number of people involved in the maritime industry and the complicated machinery and cutting edge technology employed throughout the shipping chain. To safeguard those working within the industry and any who might be affected by an accident or incident, over 30 conventions regulate the trades on our seas. Covering aspects from the prevention of pollution to the safety systems that should be followed on board the ship, these international regulations are set by the International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations body whose sole purpose is to promote worldwide maritime safety. Other regional and national legislation also exists that sometimes complements, sometimes pre-empts and on rare occasions contradicts that set by the IMO. The main reason for this is that the IMO as a governmental body can be slow to introduce legislation, whereas regional organisations, such as the European Union, can often be quicker off the mark, but both have the same aim, that is to further improve safety in our industry.