South Korean candidate Lim Ki-Tack elected as new IMO Secretary-General

LIMSouth Korean Lim Ki-Tack, president of the Busan Port Authority, has been elected today as secretary-general of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

At the election today (30 June 2015) in London, Ki-Tack overcame challengers from Cyprus, Denmark, Russia, Kenya and the Philippines, defeating Danish candidate Andreas Nordseth in the final round in a vote at the 40-member IMO Council. The council’s decision will be put to the IMO Assembly for approval in November this year.

He will assume his four-year post at the end of 2015, replacing current secretary-general, Koji Sekimizu, from Japan.

Lim proposed a four-pronged strategy in his campaign, aiming to promote the IMO’s transparency and visibility and create an efficient and productive secretariat. As part of his plan, he is also looking for closer co-operation between those in funding and shipping for enhanced capacity building and wants to minimise the human error in marine accidents.

Last week, Panama endorsed Lim’s nomination, becoming the first country involved in the voting to publicly back a candidate.

After personally interviewing each candidate, Panama’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) Jorge Barakat said that Lim was the candidate “with the clearest vision of what needed to be done [at the IMO] and with the focus on the integral development of the organisation”.

“Panama feels very confident about it and that is the reason why we announce it publicly,” he added.

Following the election result, Cyprus’s high commissioner, Euripides Evriviades, offered his “warmest congratulations” to Lim on social media, stating that the South Korean has the “full support” of Cyprus.

He added that he was proud of Cypriot candidate, Andreas Chrysostomou, who “fought with dignity and grace”. Chrysostomou, who came third in the election, was widely thought of as an early front-runner during his campaign.

Lim’s career has included serving as maritime attaché of South Korea to the IMO, director of the shipping policy division, director-general for maritime safety policy and minister-counsellor for the Embassy of South Korea in the UK.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in nautical science from Korea Maritime University. He holds a master’s degrees in political science from Yonsei University and in maritime safety administration from the World Maritime University.

The other candidates were the Philippines’ Max Mejia, who was eliminated first, Kenya’s Juvenal Shiundu and Russia’s Vitaly Klyuev.

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