Months of intense campaigning came to a climax at historic elections for the International Maritime Organization Council, where seats in all three categories were contested in a secret ballot at the 30th Session of the IMO Assembly.
In previous council elections the 10 member states in category A (with the largest interest in shipping services) did not face a vote because their places were uncontested. However, following a proposal by Guatemala, this year the states in category A were required to receive support from the majority of the membership.
“This ensured a democratic and transparent process to confirm that each Member had the backing of the majority of Members present and voting,” Mr Fred Kenney, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division told Embassy magazine.
There was a first for Category B, representing other states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. Two seats were being contested and the UAE became the first Arab country to win Category B membership. Also a newcomer to the Category was Australia, which succeeded in moving up from Category C. Losing out were Bangladesh and Argentina.
The toughest battle was Category C (countries with special interests in maritime transport or navigation) where four seats were contested. Jamaica returned to the Council while candidates Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia were unsuccessful.
The newly elected Council met on 7 December and elected Mr Xiaojie Zhang (China) as Chair for 2018-2019.
- Category A: China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States
- Category B: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UAE
- Category C: Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey