The International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Secretary General has opened the 33rd session of the IMO Assembly with a speech focussing on the UN agency’s work to support the industry in its pandemic recovery and move forward on climate policies. 

Kitack Lim, who will be replaced by a new secretary general during the assembly, said that the organisation’s focus should move towards creating a decarbonised and digitised future over the next biennium. 

He said: “Looking forward to the next biennium, there is significant work ahead, driven by the imperative to decarbonize and digitalize shipping. 

“Throughout centuries, the shipping industry has adeptly navigated transitions. IMO’s pivotal role lies in safeguarding this process, ensuring the protection of seafarers, ships, and the well-being of our oceans and planet.” 

The assembly lasts just over a week, until 6 December, and will see the IMO’s 175 member states gather at the organisation’s headquarters in the UK to adopt new resolutions and treaty amendments, approve the work programme of the agency, and elect a new council and secretary general. 

In addition to looking forward, Lim also highlighted the IMO’s work in the last two years on milestones such as the adoption of a modernised Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, the 2023 Strategy on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships, and the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling. 

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Additionally, he highlighted the organisation’s global portfolio of projects, he said: “IMO has continued to grow a multi-million-dollar portfolio of global projects aimed at fostering a culture of collaboration, partnerships and innovation. 

“These projects encompass various domains such as decarbonization, addressing marine litter, and managing biofouling.”