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The next IMO secretary-general: Arsenio Dominguez

Lloyd’s List launches a podcast series interviewing all seven candidates for the top job in shipping, beginning with special guest and Panama candidate, Arsenio Dominguez

Meet the seven candidates for secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization over the next week as Lloyd’s List sits down with each for a one-on-one chat



THE International Maritime Organization votes next Tuesday to replace its secretary-general and seven countries are fielding candidates for the top diplomatic job in shipping.

The four-year appointment begins on January 1, with the winner to succeed the incumbent over the past eight years, South Korea’s Kitack Lim.

Bangladesh (Moin Uddin Ahmed), China (Zhang Xiajojie), Dominica (Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry), Finland (Minna Kivimäki), Kenya (Nancy Karigithu), Panama (Arsenio Dominguez) and Türkiye (Suat Hayri Aka) all put forward their nominations for the position, which for the first time includes three women.

The IMO must take critical decisions over the next four years, amid heavy criticism that the pace of decarbonisation regulation will compromise the United Nations agency’s role as an international regulator.

The secretary-general will not only set the tone at the secretariat, but as the public face of the IMO, the personality must bridge divisions and steer a course that will keep the IMO relevant and respected.

As most secretary-generals are re-elected for a second term, the successful candidate will take the IMO through key climate change regulations in shipping and other challenges, such as autonomous shipping, a looming seafarer shortfall, as well as digitalisation and other internal reorganisations.

Lloyd’s List has interviewed all of the candidates, asking them to explain why they nominated and their plans for the IMO should they be successful.

First up is Panama candidate, Arsenio Dominguez, one of several favourites for the job. He is known for his diplomacy and attention to detail as the director of the marine environment division at the IMO. His website and manifesto is here.

The diplomatic horse-trading for the top job is well under way at the IMO, but no single candidate has emerged as a frontrunner so far, although rumours abound and few countries have made their position public.

Last time the council elected the secretary-general, there were multiple rounds of voting before the eventual candidate emerged.

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