In one of his last public messages before completing his term of office, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim emphasised the importance of seafarers, when talking about attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area. He said:
I condemn attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area and I reiterate the strong commitment of the IMO to protect seafarers, ships, and cargoes, which is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety and security of global supply chains. Attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area are not acceptable. Ships must be allowed to trade worldwide unhindered, in accordance with international maritime law.
The rerouting of commercial shipping by several globally operating companies is a direct response to the current threat. These measures are aimed at protecting seafarers from harm and minimizing the potential economic impact on world trade, which is highly dependent on shipping.
The IMO Secretariat is closely monitoring developments and communicating with relevant stakeholders, including the shipping industry, IMO Member States, and United Nations partners.
Once again, I invite Member States to work together to ensure unhindered and safe global navigation and the well-being of innocent seafarers everywhere. This is a prerequisite for maintaining the world’s supply chains and is in line with the framework of the Djibouti Code of Conduct.