OCIMF was formed in April 1970 in response to the growing public concern about marine pollution, particularly by oil, after the Torrey Canyon incident in 1967.
In the early 1970s, a variety of anti-pollution initiatives were starting to emerge nationally, regionally and internationally, but with little coordination. Through OCIMF, the oil industry was able to play a stronger, coordinating role in response to these initiatives, making its professional expertise widely available through cooperation with governments and intergovernmental bodies.
OCIMF was granted consultative status at the IMO in 1971 and continues to present oil industry views at IMO meetings. Since then, its role has broadened to take account the changing maritime activities of its membership. Its remit now covers tankers, barges, offshore support vessels and terminals and its advice extends to issues like shipping in ice and large-scale piracy, which rarely troubled the oil industry when OCIMF was first created in the 1970s.
The current membership of OCIMF comprises 96 companies worldwide.