South Korea’s Ki-tack Lim, president of the Busan Port Authority, has been elected as the new secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). He will take the helm from incumbent, Japan’s Koji Sekimizu, on 1 January 2016, for an initial four years.
Ki-tack Lim served as the Republic of Korea’s Deputy Permanent Representative to IMO from 2006 to 2009 and was chairman of the subcommittee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) from 2002 to 2004.
He won the election held today at the IMO’s headquarters in London, overcoming five challengers: Andreas Chrysostomou (Cyprus), Andreas Nordseth (Denmark), Jovenal Shiundu (Kenya), Maximo Mejia (Philippines) and Vitaly Klyuev (Russia).
InterManager was the first shipping organisation to speak out in support of Ki-tack Lim’s election, with a statement from its own secretary-general Kuba Szymanski, “The role of the IMO was never more important as it is today and the appointment of a new IMO head with the experience and knowledge that Mr Ki-tack Lim has, was crucial to it continuing its important work.”
A graduate in nautical science, Ki-tack Lim worked as a naval officer and for Sanko Shipping Co before joining the Korea Maritime and Port Administration in 1985, which he served in multiple roles, including director for the Maritime Technology Division, and of the Shipping Economic Policy Division.
Speaking to IHS Maritime earlier this year, Ki-tack Lim said that as secretary-general, he aspires to be “a bridge between the developing and developed states of IMO.
“My experience in maritime technology, economic policy, and as a political spokesman has helped me to see both macro and micro perspectives.”
He added: “While the environment is important, safety of navigation is fundamental: we must not lose our focus on safety issues.”
His priorities for the IMO secretariat, he said, are four: “implementation of existing regulations; capacity building to secure funding and strengthen bridges between beneficiaries and donors; enhanced service from the Secretariat; and global awareness of our global approach to implementing standards.”