The International Maritime Organization will focus on ensuring safer, more secure and environmentally friendly shipping over the next four years, according to secretary general Arsenio Dominguez.
Dominguez, who took office on 1 January 2024, outlined four strategic priorities for the IMO between now and 2028 at a press conference in London on 2 February. These priorities are: the IMO’s work to regulate international shipping; its support to Member States – particularly small island developing states and least developed countries; enhancing public awareness and image; and relations with people and stakeholders.
Dominguez condemned the recent attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea and underscored the paramount importance of protecting seafarers’ lives.
“Our mission to safeguard seafarers takes on particular significance against the backdrop of the situation in the Red Sea, emphasising the imperative for collective action to fortify the safety of those who serve at sea,” he said. “The entire world depends on international shipping and seafarers, and therefore ships and cargoes should not be the subject of attacks.”
He continued to call for the de-escalation of tensions and the freedom of navigation of ships in the area. He confirmed the IMO is speaking with countries, industry partners and the international community to find solutions.
The IMO will continue to prioritise decarbonisation as it works towards the European Union’s target of a climate-neutral continent by 2050, with specific milestones in 2030 and 2040. Dominguez set out a timeline for the approval of ‘mid-term measures’ to support emissions reduction by spring 2025, which will then be adopted by autumn 2025.
“The decision-making process at the IMO follows the science,” said Dominguez. “The strategy provides a clear pathway to decarbonisation by 2050 and is up for review every five years.”
Finally, the secretary general stressed his commitment to encouraging a culture of transparency, diversity and inclusion in the work of the IMO, saying: “As a global industry that is responsible for transporting over 80 per cent of trade around the world, shipping is indispensable. One thing I am very focused on is to make [the IMO] a more diverse, inclusive and transparent institution.”