IMO appoints new Secretary-General

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council has appointed Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco of the Republic of Panama, for an initial 4-year term as the next Secretary-General.

Image credit IMO

Valesco will start his tenure as of 1 January 2024, subject to the Assembly’s approval.

The decision was cast via a secret ballot carried out today as part of the 129th session of the Council of the IMO taking place from 17th to the 21st of July 2023.

Seven member states of the IMO had nominated candidates for the post of Secretary-General, as the term of the current incumbent, Kitack Lim of the Republic of Korea, is set to expire on December 31, 2023.

The seven nominees were Moin Uddin Ahmed of Bangladesh, Suat Hayri Aka of Turkey, Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco of Panama, Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry of Dominica, Nancy Karigithu of Kenya, Minna Kivimäki of Finland, and Zhang Xiaojie of China.

The new Secretary General of the IMO will have a massive responsibility in steering the industry forward, especially on the heels of the new targets agreed under the 2023 Strategy on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Shipping just over a week ago.

“It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work with Kitack Lim over the past eight years. Kitack steered the International Maritime Organization (IMO) successfully through challenging times, calmly and with direction, and everyone at the International Chamber of Shipping wishes Kitack every success in his future endeavours,” Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, said.

“We look forward to working with Mr Arsenio Dominguez (Panama), and know that Mr Dominguez will lead with equal measures of authority, purpose and compassion. The position of IMO Secretary General is not an easy one, and there are undoubtedly challenges ahead as the industry strives to meet the 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets, but it will be a pleasure to tackle these challenges head on with Mr Dominguez for a better and safer future for our industry and its people.”

Domínguez Velasco, the first Panamanian and Latin American candidate for this position, has more than 25 years of professional experience in the international maritime world, in addition to his contributions as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Panama to the IMO and President of the Marine Environment Protection Committee. (MEPC).

Domínguez is currently Director of the Marine Environment Protection Division of the IMO, after serving as director of the Administrative Division and head of Cabinet and of the Organization.