IMO elects Dominguez of Panama as Secretary General Ship’s crew


The Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has elected Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco of Panama as its Secretary-General, the UN Maritime Agency said on Tuesday.

Dominguez defeated six other candidates from China, Turkey, Kenya, Finland, Dominica and Bangladesh in a vote and will take office on January 1, 2024 for a four-year term, subject to the approval of the IMO Assembly.

Dominguez will take the helm at a crucial time as the shipping industry grapples with challenges, including pressure to accelerate decarbonization.

A naval architect by training, Dominguez was director of the IMO’s marine environment department for just over six years and was previously Panama’s IMO representative, according to his LinkedIn bio. He has also served with the Maritime Administration of Panama.

Some questioned whether Panama, one of the world’s leading shipping registries, should lead the IMO.

Panama’s shipping authority said in June it would continue cleaning up its fleet to prevent this inferior ships flying the flag of Panama before being detained in foreign ports, a week after the country was placed on an international watch list.

“Panama’s connection to allowing sanctions evasion by using its flagged tankers to transport sanctioned Iranian oil warrants a careful reassessment of our maritime decisions,” said Claire Jungman, chief of staff for the U.S. advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, the Iran tracks related tanker traffic via satellite data.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, said the IMO’s top job was “no easy task”.

“There are undoubtedly challenges ahead as the industry strives to meet the 2030, 2040 and 2050 goals,” said Platten, adding that Dominguez “will lead with equal levels of authority, determination and compassion.”

The current Secretary General of the IMO, Kitack Lim of South Korea, has held this post twice.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Jason Neely and Conor Humphries)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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