Even the God of the Sea sometimes needs a bit of help.

When Poseidon and two mermaids waltzed into the International Maritime Organization to discuss shipping emissions they managed it through the “misuse of passes and registrations”, according to a submission to the United Nations body.

The activists with the campaign group Ocean Rebellion made it past security in July and into a reception where Poseidon met his counterpart from above the waves, IMO secretary general Kitack Lim, for a 15-minute conversation, according to the group and observers. The trio then left escorted by police.

The security breach was the first of two attempts in five days by the campaigning group to get into the headquarters of the global regulator in London.

Three activists tried to get into the meeting of the organisation’s marine environment protection committee on 7 July but were thwarted by security at the turnstiles, according to a security inquiry carried out by the UN.

The inquiry found that the trio were holding pass cards supplied by delegation members of two of the more than 80 organisations given consultative status at the UN body, according to the IMO’s secretariat.

The two groups apologised for the breach but some member states have called for a review of the system allowing outside experts to join talks at the body’s London headquarters.

A spokeswoman for Ocean Rebellion said they thought the activists had secured passes to get into the building to speak to Lim. The IMO declined to comment further on how the activists got into the building.

The security breach came as some member states successfully lobbied the IMO to take a firmer stance on decarbonisation.

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“The police attended but just waited until Poseidon had finished meeting with Kitack Lim,” said Sophie Miller of Ocean Rebellion. “They talked for about 15 minutes.”

Chile, Colombia and Turkey have called for a revision of the rules surrounding non-government observer organisations at the IMO.

They said the two attempted security breaches involved “unauthorised and wilful entry of persons through the misuse of passes and registrations, supported by delegate(s) of an NGO with consultative status”, it said.

“An aspect relevant to the nature of IMO is the safety and security of its members,” it said in a written submission to the organisation.

“The regular presence of prominent national and international authorities, such as delegates, ambassadors, ministers… and even members of monarchies, requires the observance and respect of appropriate standards of conduct and security protocols.”

The IMO’s secretariat said it had written to the two groups to emphasise the importance of keeping the IMO headquarters a harmonious and safe place to work.

“The Secretariat is considering further medium and long-term measures and procedures which will be advised in due course,” it said in documents posted on the organisation’s website.