IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim was in Cyprus this week (9-11 October) for a series of high-level meetings with ministers and officials. First, he delivered a keynote address at the Maritime Cyprus event under the theme: "Future Shipping Strategy: Regulators vs. Industry". He said, "an industry where standards of safety, security and environmental stewardship are high is far better placed to attract both the financial investment and the high-calibre personnel it needs to sustain itself in the long term". The event operates as a forum where important and current issues relating to international shipping are presented, attracting over 800 shipping executives from around the globe.
Mr Lim then continued with his busy trip to attend the 20 years anniversary since the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control in the Mediterranean Region. Known as the Mediterranean MoU, the original agreement was signed in Valletta, Malta - on 11 July 1997. Port State Control is the process, supported by IMO, by which officials in ports can board visiting foreign-flag vessels to verify compliance with international safety and pollution standards. In a speech to the meeting, Mr Lim praised Port State Control officers who have worked tirelessly to harmonize and coordinate PSC activities which are essential as the second line of defence against non-compliance with international standards.
Mr Lim's last stop in Cyprus involved a much younger audience, as he visited an elementary school of Limassol along with EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc. There, he learned more about the Cyprus Chamber of Shipping's Adopt a Ship programme from the students themselves. He later declared how impressed he was by the programme saying, "the inspirational initiative connects young people to the shipping world in a really tangible way, improving their knowledge and firing their imagination. I really think this is a wonderful scheme and all those involved in it deserve great credit". This visit was part of the IMO Maritime Ambassador scheme which Cyprus has been actively engaged in. Under the scheme, spokespersons are nominated by IMO Member States or NGOs to advocate on behalf of the maritime and seafaring professions, especially among younger audiences.