Council, 120th session, 2-5 July 2018 (closing remarks)


Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

I would like to congratulate the Council for the constructive and very successful outcome of this session and also the Chair for his excellent leadership. I would also like to congratulate Vice- Admiral Edmundo Deville del Campo for his election as Vice-Chair of Council. I am looking forward to more constructive collaboration and cooperation at our next sessions.

Since the adoption of the Strategic Plan and the adoption of the budget at our last Assembly, the Secretariat, led by me, has done its best to deliver on our objectives following the direction and guidance of the Member States.

We have had extensive discussions on several important topics. You rightfully decided to establish a working group at our next session to have a full, inclusive and forward-looking discussion on Council reforms. This is a timely decision, given that we celebrate 70 years of IMO history this year and now is the perfect time to look into the future.

On administrative and financial issues, you provided guidance on how best to deliver the objectives of the Organization, and I will continue to exercise discretion and efficiency in our conduct, and will provide you with further information on key issues such as, for example, the After Service Health Insurance Liability (ASHI). You also analysed the results of the always important technical and legal work of the Organization. Your interest and involvement in these discussions only demonstrates that we are all here working together for the same objective: to continue to make IMO a successful organization and ready for any future challenges.

I have taken due note of your comments, suggestions, concerns and requests for further information and I will continue to do my utmost to deliver the work expected from us. I look forward to more of these fruitful discussions at our next session.

It never fails to amaze me how, even on subjects on which we may seem to have different views, the IMO spirit of cooperation and compromise prevails, leading us to make decisions that steer this Organization into the future.

I wish to pay a special tribute to all the staff of the Secretariat and in particular to the interpreters for their tremendous efforts in the preparation for this meeting, which contributed to its success. I am very lucky to count on the support, experience and expertise of such a great team.

I now have some information regarding personnel matters.

As you may be aware, Mr. Stefan Micallef, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Marine Environment Division will retire from IMO on 30 September 2018 after years of distinguished service. His many successes are crowned by the tremendous achievement earlier this year, of the adoption of IMO Initial Strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions, at his last session as Secretary of the MEPC. I am certain that you will join me in expressing our gratitude and appreciation for his dedicated and excellent contribution to the mission of IMO and the United Nations family and in wishing him the very best for the next phase in his life.

As a consequence of the foregoing, I have decided on the following appointments with effect from 1 October 2018:

Mr. Hiroyuki Yamada will replace Mr. Stefan Micallef as Director of the Marine Environment Division; and

Ms. Ariane Gireud will be placed as the Acting Director of the Conference Division

I also would like to take this opportunity to announce the appointment of two other senior level officers, effective from 1 July 2018:

Mr. Hans Van der Graaf as Deputy Director, Subdivision for Operational Safety and Human Element, Maritime Safety Division; and

Mr. Tian-Bing Huang as Deputy Director, Subdivision for Protective Measures, Marine Environment Division.

I wish Mr. Yamada, Ms. Gireud, Mr. Van der Graaf and Mr. Huang every success in their new roles and I trust you will offer them your full support in their new functions.

It would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to wish John Akhurst from Bahamas a happy retirement. We will miss his constructive interventions, his reasoning and his vast knowledge and experience. John, thank you for your dedication and commitment to the work of the Organization.

Finally, I wish to, once again, wholeheartedly thank the Chair of the Council, Mr. Xiaojie Zhang from China.

Thank you for your hard work chairing your first full Council. I was impressed with your preparation and dedication, which demonstrated your readiness to conduct one of the most challenging Council's in recent years, based on the diverse range of topics addressed. Thank you and I look forward to working with you at our next meeting.

Distinguished delegates, once again, thank you all, your support is invaluable and I am convinced that, together, we will continue to deliver the results expected from this respectable Organization. Enjoy a very deserved summer break. 

Thank you.