Earlier this month, IMO announced that seven IMO Member States have each nominated a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Since then, talks and speculations have been taking place as to who will be the successor to Secretary-General Kitack Lim. IMO announced the following nominations (in alphabetical order by candidates’ name) received by the deadline set for receipt of nominations of 31 March 2023:
- Mr. Moin Uddin Ahmed (Bangladesh)
- Mr. Suat Hayri Aka (Türkiye)
- Mr. Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Panama)
- Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Dominica)
- Mrs. Nancy Karigithu (Kenya)
- Ms. Minna Kivimäki (Finland)
- Mr. Zhang Xiaojie (China)
The election will take place at IMO Headquarters on Tuesday 18 July. Following the election in July 2023, the decision of the Council will be submitted to the 33rd session of the Assembly of IMO in late 2023. The Assembly will be invited to approve the appointment. The elected Secretary-General will take office on January 1st, 2024.
Moin Uddin Ahmed (Bangladesh)
The first candidate, Mr. Moin Uddin Ahmed was elected as the Director-General of International Maritime Satellite Organization (IMSO) in their 25th assembly session. He was first elected as the Director General in November of 2014 and commenced his position in April 2015. He was a Senior Technical Officer in IMO Maritime Safety Division, before his nomination as the Director general of IMSO in 2014.
Suat Hayri Aka (Türkiye)
The second candidate Suat Hayri Aka is Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Turkiye to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization). He has experience both in Government as Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs and Communications, and in private sector as CEO of Shipping Companies, an Ocean-Going Captain and a Lecturer of Maritime Affairs.
Mr. Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Panama)
Mr. Dominguez currently serves as Director, Marine Environment Division of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), having served previously as Director, Administrative Division and Chief of Staff. Before joining IMO in July 2017, Mr. Dominguez worked for the Panama Maritime Authority starting in 1998 as Head of the Regional Technical and Documentation Office for Europe and North Africa, and as Alternate Representative and Technical Adviser of Panama to IMO from 2004 to 2014. In July 2014 he was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Panama to IMO.
Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry (Dominica)
Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, is the first female President of the World Maritime University, Malmo, Sweden. Previously she was Director of the International Labour Standards Department of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland. She began her career at the University of the West Indies, Barbados, as a lecturer in law. She worked with the Iran-US Claims Tribunal in The Hague, The Netherlands, and then joined the ILO in 1986 from where she has served as a senior lawyer of the organisation and in other management positions. She had responsibility for the progress of the Maritime Labour Convention within the ILO. She is Barrister at Law and Solicitor, entitled to practise in all English-speaking Caribbean jurisdictions; she is also a member of the Inner Temple, the Inns of Court, UK.
Mrs. Nancy Karigithu (Kenya)
Nancy Karigithu has been involved in numerous positions, projects and research to improve the shipping industry. Karigithu has served three terms as Chair of the IMO Technical Cooperation Committee. As the Principal Secretary and Special Envoy for Maritime and Blue Economy in Kenya’s State Department for Shipping and Maritime, she has been a senior delegate of the Kenyan government to IMO meetings for over eighteen years and has been instrumental in the implementation of IMO programs both in Kenya and throughout the African region. During her 35-year-carrer in shipping, she has taken part in improving diversity in shipping. For instance, she was involved in the setting up and launch of the Association of Women in the Maritime Sector in Eastern & Southern Africa (WOMESA)where she served for two terms as a Chairperson and now sits on the governing council.
Ms. Minna Kivimäki (Finland)
Minna Kivimaki, Master of Laws, is permanent secretary at the Finnish Ministry of Transport & Communications. Since 2016, Kivimäki has worked as Deputy Permanent Representative and Coreper 1 representative at the Permanent Representation of Finland to the EU. Prior to this, she worked at the Ministry of Transport and Communications as Director General of the Transport Policy Department and of the Services Department, and as Director of the Transport Services Unit.
Mr. Zhang Xiaojie (China)
Zhang Xiaojie is Director of Technical Cooperation Division at International Maritime Organization. Mr. Zhang graduated from WMU in 1999 with an MSc in Maritime Affairs, specializing in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection (Administration). Mr. Zhang has held a succession of posts in the Government of China since 1987. Within China’s Ministry of Transport, he has served as Director of International Organizations and Multilateral Affairs, as well as Director of Bilateral and Regional Cooperation, both within the Department of International Cooperation. Since 2012 he has served as Deputy Director-General for the Department of International Cooperation within China’s Ministry of Transport, and as Chair of IMO Council since 2017. Since 2015, he has headed the Chinese delegation to IMO Council and the Marine Environment Protection Committee and at the International Labour Organization during a six year period that led to the adoption of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 as amended.
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