The prestigious International Maritime Prize for 2016 has been presented to Mr. Koji Sekimizu, former Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for his contribution to the work of IMO over many years.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim presented the prize on Monday (27 November) at the IMO awards ceremony.
“Mr. Sekimizu has dedicated his career and his lifetime to promoting safety of life at sea and protecting the marine and atmospheric environment. He is truly deserving of the International Maritime Prize,” Mr. Lim said.
The IMO Council unanimously decided in July to award the Prize to Mr. Sekimizu, IMO Secretary-General Emeritus, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization and the international maritime community as a whole. Mr. Sekimizu, a Japanese national, had a long and distinguished career with IMO, culminating in his four-year stewardship as Secretary-General for the four years from 2012 to 2015.
Accepting the prize, Mr. Sekimizu expressed his gratitude for the honour and reflected on more than a quarter of a century spent working at IMO.
“I spent the whole of my professional life in the development of international rules and regulations at IMO for the safety at sea and prevention of pollution from ships and ensuring maritime security. It was a great honour for me to serve IMO and the international maritime community as the Secretary-General and I am proud of my life totally devoted to IMO,” Mr. Sekimizu said. Click for the full speech here.
Mr. Sekimizu was nominated for the prize by the Government of Japan, who highlighted his contribution as director of both the Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Divisions, and as IMO Secretary-General. Mr. Sekimizu oversaw the adoption of a number of key instruments, including the amendments to make the IMO Member State Audit Scheme mandatory, the Polar Code, and the Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety. He pushed forward with the reduction of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ships. He also contributed greatly to the enforcement of anti-piracy measures, including setting up the Djibouti Regional Training Centre.
As Secretary-General, Mr. Sekimizu worked to strengthen the governance and capacity of IMO's educational institutions, and the financial sustainability of the World Maritime University. Within IMO, Mr. Sekimizu initiated a review and reform process.
Biography of Mr. Koji Sekimizu
Koji Sekimizu was elected Secretary-General of IMO in 2011, assuming that role at the beginning of 2012 for a four-year term.
A naval architect by training, with a Master's Degree in engineering from Osaka University, Mr. Sekimizu joined the Ministry of Transport of Japan in 1977 as a ship inspector. He was promoted to various posts in the Ministry, including Deputy Director of the Environment Division and Deputy Director, Safety Standards Division, Maritime Technology and Safety Bureau. Mr. Sekimizu was involved with IMO meetings for the Government of Japan for some years, and then he joined IMO in 1989. He was involved in the development of many important Conventions and Codes, with responsibility for maritime safety, security, anti-piracy measures and marine environment issues.
He served as Director of both IMO's Marine Environment Division and Maritime Safety Division before becoming Secretary-General of the Organization.
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 the Organization. It consists of a sculpture in the form of a dolphin and includes a financial award, upon submission of an academic paper written on a subject relevant to IMO.