Mr. Koji Sekimizu has been elected as the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with effect from 1 January 2012, for an initial term of four years.
The vote took place during the 106th session of the 40-Member strong IMO Council, which is meeting from 27 June to 1 July 2011. The decision of the Council will be submitted to the IMO Assembly, which meets for its 27th session from 21 to 30 November 2011, for approval.
Mr. Sekimizu, 59, is currently Director of IMO’s Maritime Safety Division. Mr. Sekimizu studied marine engineering and naval architecture and joined the Ministry of Transport of Japan in 1977, working initially as a ship inspector and moving on to senior positions in both maritime safety and environment related positions within the Ministry. He began attending IMO meetings as part of the Japanese delegation in 1980 and joined the IMO Secretariat in 1989, initially as Technical Officer, Sub-Division for Technology, Maritime Safety Division, becoming Head, Technology Section in 1992, then moving to become Senior Deputy Director, Marine Environment Division in 1997 and Director of that Division in 2000, before moving to his current position in 2004.
Congratulating the winner, IMO Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said he looked forward to “working closely with Mr. Sekimizu between now and the end of the year to introduce him to the current state of organizational affairs so that the transition of administration from me to him will be as smooth, harmonious and successful as possible.“
“For him to succeed in the hugely demanding and heavy task the Council entrusted him with today, he will need all the understanding, support and co‑operation of the entire membership and the Secretariat to enable him to provide direction and steer the Organization prudently and wisely in the challenging times that lie ahead. While I have no doubt that the membership will provide all that I just suggested (as they did to me, over the last seven and a half years, for which I am ever so grateful), I can assure him that the Secretariat will stand by him to support him in any way possible and under all circumstances,” Mr. Mitropoulos said.