IMO Secretary-General's mandate renewed for further four years


IMO Council - 97th session: 6-10 November 2006

Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos outlined his agenda for the future as the IMO Council confirmed its support for his continuing to serve the Organization as Secretary-General for another four years.

The Council decided by acclamation to renew Mr. Mitropoulos's mandate for another four-year term, concluding on 31 December 2011, and to advise the twenty-fifth regular session of the Assembly accordingly, in conformity with Article 22 of the IMO Convention. In its record of the decisions, the Council recognized "the exceptional leadership, initiative and commitment with which the affairs of the Organization have been conducted by Mr. Mitropoulos, as its Secretary General".

Addressing the Council meeting, Mr. Mitropoulos said "Your continuing trust in me and in the administration in place gives me strength in my endeavours in pursuance of the noble objectives of this great institution."

He also took the opportunity to thank the staff of the Organization. "No one can work in a vacuum," he said, "and the advice I receive from my colleagues, the Organization's most valuable asset, is sound, valid and reliable and helps me substantially to perform my duties."

Looking to the future, Mr. Mitropoulos said that the safety of life at the sea should continue to be IMO's principal objective. In particular, he singled out the 'goal-based standard' concept, and spoke of the "beneficial impact it will certainly have."

He added, "We should continue to pay due regard to the contribution to enhanced safety of flag, port and coastal States, classification societies and other stakeholders, all having an important role to play in collectively implementing, maintaining and raising the safety standards of shipping".

Anticipating a period in which significant long-term efforts to improve maritime safety and reduce the risk of pollution will take effect, Mr. Mitropoulos spoke of the many challenges currently facing the Organization.

Efforts to put the Voluntary Members State Audit Scheme on a strong basis from which to move forward must continue, he said, and he pledged to ensure that the IMO Secretariat had the necessary resources to support the Scheme as vigorously as possible.

He also said he intended to strengthen the Secretariat to continue to address the maritime security issue. He stressed the importance of guarding against complacency in assessing the risks of terrorism and raising shipping's defences to protect human lives, property and the environment.

Referring to an earlier Council decision to dedicate next year's World Maritime Day to IMO's response to current environmental challenges, Mr. Mitropoulos called for the intensification of efforts to implement the Organization's marine environment-related instruments that were already in place and to bring those in the pipeline to a successful conclusion within reasonable time limits.

Mr. Mitropoulos has been involved with the maritime industry since 1957. Following his career at sea in the Greek Merchant Navy and the Hellenic Coast Guard, he gained experience as a marine technologist, lecturer and author, harbour master and maritime economist. From 1965 to 1979 he was a member of the Greek delegation to IMO, rising to head of delegation. He joined the IMO secretariat in 1979 and in 1985 was appointed head of the Navigation Section. In 1989 he became Senior Deputy Director for Navigation and Related Matters and in 1992 was appointed Director of the Maritime Safety Division. In 2000 he was designated Assistant Secretary-General and in 2003 was elected to succeed William O'Neil of Canada as Secretary General. He took up the position on 1st January 2004.

Previous IMO Secretaries-General

Ove Nielsen (Denmark) 1959-1961
William Graham (United Kingdom, Acting) 1961-1963
Jean Roullier (France) 1964-1967
Colin Goad (United Kingdom) 1968-1973
Chandrika Prasad Srivastava (India) 1974-1989
William O'Neil (Canada) 1990-2003

Briefing 44, 9 November 2006

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