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Published: 30 Jun 2011
|SA: Statement by Sbu Ndebele, Minister of Transport, following Dinner hosted by SA delegation to IMO for IMO Secretary General (30/06/2011)|
Minister of Transport Mr Sibusiso Ndebele has extended South Africa's tribute to the outgoing Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), His Excellency Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, whose term comes to an end at the IMO Assembly in December 2011.
Speaking at a dinner Ndebele hosted on Wednesday, Minister Ndebele said Mr Mitropolous had spent his life working for the benefit of the maritime industry worldwide:
"Without going into great detail, on behalf of the Republic of South Africa we thank you for your contribution in advancing the interests of the international maritime industry," said Minister Ndebele.
"You have spent most of your life in pursuit of the best for the shipping industry. As you prepare for your next life beyond retirement as Secretary General, kindly know that we have a standing invitation for you to visit South Africa in the future so we can draw from your wealth of maritime knowledge for our country's benefit," Ndebele said.
In November 2003, Mr. Mitropoulos was elected Secretary-General for the period 2004 to 2008. In November 2006, the IMO Council decided to renew his mandate for another four years, concluding 31 December 2011. In June 2004, he was appointed Chancellor of the World Maritime University (Malmo, Sweden) and Chairman of the Governing Board of the International Maritime Law Institute (Malta).
Minister Ndebele also congratulated the newly elected Secretary General Mr Koji Sekimizu of Japan: "We also would like to extend our congratulations to the newly-elected Secretary General of the IMO Mr Koji Sekimizu. We look forward to a fruitful working relationship inside and outside the IMO as our countries collaborate on maritime matters but also on other matters to be identified by both sides," said Minister Ndebele.
Mr. Koji Sekimizu of Japan was on Tuesday elected Secretary-General of the IMO, with effect from 1 January 2012, for an initial term of four years. The vote took place during the 106th session of the 40-Member strong IMO Council, which is meeting from 27 June to 1 July 2011. The decision of the Council will be submitted to the IMO Assembly, which meets for its 27th session from 21 to 30 November 2011, for approval.
Mr. Sekimizu, 58, is currently Director of IMO's Maritime Safety Division. Mr. Sekimizu studied marine engineering and naval architecture and joined the Ministry of Transport of Japan in 1977, working initially as a ship inspector and moving on to senior positions in both maritime safety and environment related positions within the Ministry.
He began attending IMO meetings as part of the Japanese delegation in 1980 and joined the IMO Secretariat in 1989, initially as Technical Officer, Sub-Division for Technology, Maritime Safety Division, becoming Head, Technology Section in 1992, then moving to become Senior Deputy Director, Marine Environment Division in 1997 and Director of that Division in 2000, before moving to his current position in 2004.
Congratulating the winner, IMO Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said he looked forward to "working closely with Mr. Sekimizu between now and the end of the year to introduce him to the current state of organizational affairs so that the transition of administration from me to him will be as smooth, harmonious and successful as possible."
"For him to succeed in the hugely demanding and heavy task the Council entrusted him with today, he will need all the understanding, support and co operation of the entire membership and the Secretariat to enable him to provide direction and steer the Organization prudently and wisely in the challenging times that lie ahead.
While I have no doubt that the membership will provide all that I just suggested (as they did to me, over the last seven and a half years, for which I am ever so grateful), I can assure him that the Secretariat will stand by him to support him in any way possible and under all circumstances," Mr. Mitropoulos said.
Minister Ndebele is leading a delegation to the 106th session of the IMO Council. The delegation includes Dr Zola Skweyiya, South Africa's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative to the IMO, Mr Gilberto Martins, Minister Ndebele's Special Advisor, Ms Hamida Fakira, the Deputy Director General of Maritime at the Department of Transport and Commander Tsietsi Mokhele, the Chief Executive of the South African Maritime Safety Authority(SAMSA).