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IMO boss stays on

IMO boss stays on
IMO's Assembly has unanimously confirmed the decision of the Organization?s Council to extend the appointment of Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos for a further term of four years.


IMO's Assembly has unanimously confirmed the decision of the Organization"s Council to extend the appointment of Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos for a further term of four years.

Mr Mitropoulos thanked delegates for the continuing trust they had placed in him and for their unfailing understanding and co-operation during his first four years as Secretary-General. He also thanked the Secretariat for its hard work and support.

In sharing with the IMO Members his vision for the future, he said that, in the years to come, the focus of the many challenges facing the Organization should be on:

Keeping alive the spirit of this year"s World Maritime Day theme, on responding successfully to environmental challenges. ?We should,? he said ?intensify our efforts to improve, implement and enforce all the marine environment-related instruments we have put in place; and to bring those in the pipeline (especially the measures we are contemplating to reduce shipping"s contribution to atmospheric pollution) to a successful conclusion within the agreed timeframe or, wherever possible, even sooner. In being pro-active in this respect, not only will we be sending a strong message about our commitment to a cleaner environment, we will also state, unequivocally, that we are driven by our own green agenda out of our own concern and sensitivity about the environment.?

* Retaining the safety of life at sea as IMO"s principal objective. In this respect, he highlighted the importance of work to ?further progress the "goal-based standard" concept, in anticipation of the beneficial impact it will certainly have, among other things, on overseeing the performance of recognized organizations. Apace with that, we should seek progress on the comprehensive review of the STCW Convention and on all matters pertaining to seafarer safety.?

* Continuing to address maritime security. This was an issue, he said, that ?allows for no complacency in the prevention and suppression of unlawful acts (including piracy and armed robbery against ships) that may cost dearly in terms of human lives, property and the environment?. At the same time, efforts would continue to bring the LRIT system to successful fruition.

* Consolidating and further promoting the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme, which, Mr. Mitropoulos emphasized, ?has had a very successful initial implementation phase during the current biennium?.

Giving emphasis, he said, in line with the Organization"s Strategic Plan and High-level Action Plan, to IMO"s ?ongoing efforts in areas such as the safety of non-Convention ships; the outcome of marine accident investigations; the role of the human element; improving the port State control non-compliance rate by promoting greater efforts by all parties in the chain of responsibility; and promoting and raising the profile, environmental consciousness and, thus, the quality of international shipping?.

* Continuing ?to support fully?, he concluded, ?those entrusted by the Membership to lead the Organization"s various bodies; and also for the Secretariat, who spare no effort to provide sound advice and assistance?.

Appealing to members to continue working together, Secretary-General Mitropoulos expressed confidence in IMO succeeding in its efforts to respond to the expectations of the maritime community and, thus, ensuring that the Organization would remain relevant now and in the future.


IMO has agreed to delay enforcement of a requirement for new ships to have ballast water treatment equipment, because the 2004 Ballast Water Management Convention has not yet entered into force and there is a lack of type-approved equipment.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed the delay. Its Marine Manager, David Tongue, who led ICS in the complex negotiations at IMO, remarked: ?We are very pleased that the compromise proposal put forward by ICS, with helpful support from Intertanko and OCIMF, has been agreed by governments and that new ships constructed from 2009 will not be required to have the new equipment fitted until their second annual survey or end 2011, whichever is the sooner.?

IMO also agreed, as requested by ICS, that the Marine Environment Protection Committee should revisit the question of ships constructed in 2010. Mr Tongue said: ?A major obstacle to ratification by governments of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention has thus hopefully been removed, and ICS will continue its campaign to see that this important Convention enters into force as soon as possible. In the meantime, ICS members will remain committed to performing deep water ballast exchange, whenever it is safe to do so, and co-operating with voluntary coastal state requirements.?

ICS has been calling on governments to address the problems associated with the development of new ballast water treatment equipment since the 2004 IMO Conference which adopted a fixed date of 2009 for its mandatory use by certain ships constructed after this date, when it was unknown if the Convention would be in force by this time, or if the required type-approved technology would be available, which it is not.

?We are especially grateful to the IMO Secretary General who proposed a draft Assembly Resolution which provided the basis of the current agreement?, added Mr Tongue of ICS.


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