Mr. E.E. Mitropoulos, Secretary-General Emeritus of IMO, Secretary-General of the Organization from 2004 to 2011, has been awarded the prestigious International Maritime Prize, for his significant contribution to the work of IMO.
IMO Secretary-General Mr. Koji Sekimizu presented the award, a sculpture in the form of a dolphin, to Mr. Mitropoulos, during a special ceremony at IMO Headquarters (on Tuesday, 27 November 2012), on the second day of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 91st session.
Mr. Mitropoulos was nominated for the prize by the Government of Greece and has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to the purposes and functions of IMO during his long and distinguished career with the Organization, culminating in his eight-year stewardship as Secretary-General.
His notable achievements include:
• his commitment to the promotion of IMO as the only organization for the development and adoption of global maritime standards;
• his support for and encouragement of the effective participation in the Organization's work by all sectors of the shipping and related industries and organizations representing civil society interests;
• his support for the Organization's technical co-operation programme, which has better enabled developing States to adopt, implement and enforce the Organization's instruments;
• his dedication to strengthening the governance and capacity of the Organization's educational institutions, which have become firmly established global providers of high quality, advanced maritime training and education;
• his advocacy and foresight in working towards the establishment of a mandatory scheme for auditing member States' maritime administrations;
• his leadership in the wide and effective implementation of the 1979 Maritime Search and Rescue Convention and his tireless efforts to promote the establishment of the Global SAR Plan;
• his unstinting efforts to enhance environmental awareness and responsibility among all stakeholders and, in particular, to develop and adopt major amendments to existing IMO environmental treaty instruments;
• his success in instituting an international Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea and the holding of parallel World Maritime Day events around the world;
• his success in rallying the global maritime community in support of seafarers through the launching of the "Go to Sea!" campaign in 2009 and the denomination of 2010 as the international "Year of the Seafarer";
• his resolve to gain global support from all relevant stakeholders in response to the threat of piracy and armed robbery against ships;
• his humanitarian support for individuals and developing countries through, among other things, using his good offices to promote the release of detained seafarers and the establishment of funds to support the south east Asian tsunami victims and those of the Haiti earthquake;
• his determination and drive in establishing regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres and Sub-Centres along the coast of Africa; and
• his unstinting support for the advancement of women in the maritime sector,
International Maritime Prize
The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of IMO.
Portrait of Mr. Mitropoulos unveiled
Also on Tuesday, a portrait of Mr. Mitropoulos was unveiled.
The painting, by marine artist Robert Lloyd, will be hung alongside the portraits of other former Secretaries-General of the Organization, at IMO Headquarters in London.
Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos
Efthimios (Thimio) E. Mitropoulos was born in Piraeus, Greece, to a maritime family. He graduated from the Aspropyrgos Merchant Marine Academy in 1959.
Between 1959 and 1962, he served as apprentice, second and chief deck officer on merchant ships on voyages around the world and, in 1962, he entered the Hellenic Coast Guard Academy, graduating in 1964.
He then started his career as a commissioned Coast Guard Officer in Corfu, first and Piraeus, later. He retired with the rank of Rear Admiral.
During his service with the Greek Maritime Administration, he participated at meetings of the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Consultative Shipping Group, while his association with IMO goes back to 1965, when he first represented Greece at the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection in December of that year.
Between 1966 and 1977, he participated, initially as a member and later as Head of the Greek Delegation, in the work of various Sub-Committees and the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO (which he served also as vice-chairman and chairman of working groups). He also participated in the work of the Council and the Assembly as well as at the 1972 Collision Regulations and 1974 Safety of Life at Sea Conferences convened by IMO. He attended the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1975-1977) as the representative of the Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine at the multi-ministerial Greek delegation.
Between 1967 and 1972, he laid the foundations for the establishment of what has now become Greece’s Joint Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Centre.
Between 1972 and 1976, he regularly lectured at the Hellenic Coast Guard Academy and the Greek Master Mariners’ Centre of Superior Studies on shipping economics and policy and maritime safety/safety of navigation subjects, respectively.
Between 1977 and 1979, he was Harbour Master of Corfu, with responsibility for the sea area surrounding Corfu and all the nearby Greek islands.
He joined IMO in January 1979 as Implementation Officer in the Maritime Safety Division and, in October 1985, was appointed Head of the Navigation Section. In 1989, he was promoted to Senior Deputy Director for Navigation and Related Matters and, in May 1992, was appointed Director of the Maritime Safety Division and Secretary of the Maritime Safety Committee.
Between 1989 and 1998, he led IMO’s efforts to establish a global Search and Rescue (SAR) Plan through regional Conferences in Lisbon, Cape Town, Seoul, Valencia and Fremantle and a Conference in Florence to specifically consider SAR matters pertaining to Africa.
In May 2000, he was appointed Assistant Secretary-General retaining his duties as Director of the Maritime Safety Division.
In November 2003, Mr. Mitropoulos was elected Secretary-General for the period 2004 to 2008. In November 2006, the IMO Council renewed his mandate for another 4 years, concluding on 31 December 2011.
In June 2004, he was appointed Chancellor of the World Maritime University (Malmo, Sweden) and Chairman of the Governing Board of the International Maritime Law Institute (Malta).