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Panama Declares Candidate for Next IMO Secretary-General

candidate for IMO Secretary-General
The next Secretary-General of the IMO will assume office on January 1, 2024

Published Dec 5, 2022 3:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

With Kitack Lim beginning the last year of his second term as Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, the Republic of Panama through the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) became the first to officially declare a candidate as his successor. Panama announced that it will support its member and the current director of the Marine Environment Division, Arsenio Domínguez, to become the ninth elected Secretary General of the IMO with the term beginning January 1, 2024.

Domínguez, who is a naval architect, becomes the first Panamanian and Latin American candidate for the position of Secretary-General. AMP highlights that 2024 will mark 20 years since Dominguez began serving in various roles at the IMO.

Lim was first elected to a four-year term that started in 2016. He was elected for his second and final term of four years that began January 1, 2020, and runs through December 31, 2023.

The next Secretary-General will take the lead of the IMO at a critical time in the organization’s history and for the maritime industry. They will be confronting environmental issues and the increasing pressures for the industry to accelerate its transition to alternative fuels. Many organizations have been critical of the IMO’s performance saying that it has been slow to adopt the necessary changes and that it must be more aggressive in leading the industry forward.

Arsenio Domínguez's campaign for the leadership position is using the theme “Taking the lead, for a united and better future.” He says he aims to serve IMO by “putting people and planet first.”

Domínguez is currently the director of the Marine Environment Division and a member of the Senior Management Committee of the IMO. He took that position in 2017 after serving as president of MEPC. He was first appointed in 2004 as the alternate representative of Panama to the IMO and starting in 2014 he was appointed Ambassador of Panama to the IMO.

AMP speaking on behalf of Panama said Domínguez’s dedication to the organization is well known. They highlight that he sees it as a “capitalizing opportunity” for the greater good of all and “will usher in a new era for IMO, where we are seen as a fount of ingenuity, makers of productive resolutions and as a rewarding workplace where the best talent thrives.” They quote Domínguez saying, “I think IMO has incredible potential that extends beyond shipping to society. That is why I am committed to fulfilling my mission and vision.”

Noriel Araúz, Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority and Minister of Maritime Affairs, said the country is proud to support Mr. Domínguez's mission and vision, which “we share as a country. We support and always will support IMO and its work for the benefit of shipping, the well-being of seafarers, and the environment.”

Panama notes that it joined the IMO on December 31, 1958, and became a member of the Council of the International Maritime Organization in 1979. With the entry into force in 2002 of the 1993 amendments to the Constitutive Agreement of the Organization, Panama has been re-elected as a Category A member of the Council, since then. In November 2021, during the COP26 meeting, Panama signed the Declaration of Zero Emissions in the Maritime Industry by 2050 and is one of the countries declared neutral in terms of carbon emissions in the world.

"As the world's largest ship registry for 29 years, we are committed to cleaning up ecosystems and demonstrate our commitment to the environment by promoting the construction of 'Eco Friendly' ships,” said the Minister of Maritime Affairs of Panama. "Mr. Domínguez's candidacy honors our country, our maritime vocation, and our dedication to the shipping industry for more than a century."