Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Skip Navigation LinksDefault Secretary-General

Skip Navigation LinksIMO / English / Media Centre / Secretary-General



​​​Kitack Lim was elected Secretary-General of the Organization by the 114th session of the IMO Council in June 2015 for a four-year period beginning 1 January 2016. The election was endorsed by the IMO's Assembly at its 29th session in November 2015.

Mr. Kitack Lim (Republic of Korea) is the eighth elected Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization​.

A New Year message from IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

While most of us have been taking advantage of the holiday period to spend time with our family and friends, I am very much aware that, for many in the shipping industry, this has not been possible.

For the shipping industry, and for the seafarers who operate the ships, the holiday period is the same as any other as they continue their work to keep maritime trade flowing around the world and support the global economy.

For those in shipping who have been able to take some time off, I hope you have enjoyed your break; and for those of you at sea, I hope that you have at least been able to keep in touch with your loved ones and will soon be reunited with them.

Here at IMO, one of our most important responsibilities is to provide the regulatory framework for shipping, and as we do this we are always aware that shipping plays a pivotal role in promoting the livelihood and well-being of people all over the world and will be essential in the future, too, as we move towards a world in which development is truly sustainable. We will continue efforts in that regard in the new year and beyond.

2016 was a memorable year in so many ways. For IMO, it was a year of considerable progress on many key areas of our work. Among the highlights were our Member States agreeing on the earlier of two date options for a global reduction in the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil; adopting a mandatory requirement for ships to collect and report data on the fuel they use; and approving a 'road map' to develop a comprehensive strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships. I could also mention the ratifications of the Ballast Water Management Convention which triggered the entry into force of that important measure during 2017. If properly implemented and built upon, all these measures will have a considerable positive effect on the environment and human health.

Looking ahead, in 2017 we will continue to pursue these goals, alongside the rest of our mandate which embraces safety, security and efficiency in shipping. I am particularly keen, this year, to highlight the importance of 'joined-up' maritime activity across all sectors and how this can reap great benefits in terms of development, especially in the context of the global Sustainable Development Goals.

With this in mind, our theme for this year is "Connecting ships, ports and people" and we will be using it as an opportunity to highlight the value of integration in the maritime and logistics sectors – both from a policy and a practical perspective. IMO's role as the global regulator of the shipping industry can enhance this integration as consistent, uniform regulation facilitates the free flow of commerce.

It promises to be another busy, challenging and, hopefully, productive year and I look forward very much to continuing the 'voyage together' on which so many of you have joined me this year.

May I wish you all in the shipping community, and especially seafarers everywhere, a safe, secure and prosperous 2017.


Senior Management Committee
(Pictured from left to right, standing)

Jesper Loldrup (Head, Executive Office of the Secretary-General and of Policy and Planning)
Youqiang Li (Director, Conference Division)
Lawrence Barchue (Director, Member State Audit and Implementation Support)
Frederick Kenney (Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division)
Aubrey Botsford (Acting Director, Administrative Division)
Ashok Mahapatra (Director, Maritime Safety Division)
Sung-Jin Kim, (Senior Deputy Director, Internal Oversight and Ethics Office)

(Pictured from left to right, seated)

Nicolaos Charalambous (Director, Technical Cooperation Division)
Kitack Lim (IMO Secretary-General)

Stefan Micallef (Director, Marine Environment Division)