IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim has been re-elected to serve another four-year term. His second term in office will run from January 2020, concurrent after his current term which commenced in 2015.
His re-appointment has to be ratified by the IMO’s general assembly next month, but there is no expectation his appointment to lead the UN maritime body will be opposed.
Indeed, Mr Lim will be carrying through one of the most contentious regulations imposed on shipping – IMO 2020 global sulphur cap – with more difficult decisions required if IMO is to meet its self-imposed global greenhouse targets.
Mr Lim was born in Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do, in South Korea. He majored in nautical science at the Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU), Busan, graduating in 1977.
He served on ships as a Korean naval officer and for an international shipping company. He joined the Korea Maritime and Port Administration in 1985, while continuing with further studies at the Graduate School of Administration, Yonsei University, obtaining a master’s degree in 1990.
He then studied maritime administration at the World Maritime University, graduating with a master’s degree. From 1995 he attended a doctoral programme for international law at KMOU, completing course work in 1998.
Mr Lim began attending IMO meetings as part of the Republic of Korea’s delegation in 1986 and he engaged in activities to promote maritime safety through effective implementation of IMO conventions in his country and other IMO member states in the Asian region.
He was elected chair of IMO's Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI - now III) in 2001 and of the Tokyo Memorandum on Port State Control in 2004.
In 2006, Mr Lim was appointed director general of the Maritime Safety Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs in Korea and then as a senior maritime attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in London and led all IMO work for the Republic of Korea, serving as an alternate permanent representative to IMO up to August 2009. Following that, he was re-appointed director general for Maritime Safety Bureau.
In March 2011, Mr Lim was appointed commissioner of the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal. In July 2012, he assumed the position of president of Busan Port Authority, until January 2016 when he took up his appointment as secretary general of IMO.