The Assembly of the International Maritime Organization, its highest governing body, has elected new Member States to the IMO Council for the 2022-2023 term.
The IMO Council serves as the “executive organ” responsible for supervising the work of the international shipping regulator and performs almost all functions of the IMO Assembly, with exception of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention. The Assembly, made of up all IMO Member States, normally meets for regular session once every two years and one of its responsibilities is electing the 40-Member Council to two-year “biennium” terms.
The 32nd Assembly is currently meeting in London at IMO Headquarters from December 6th through the 15th. All 175 Member States and three Associate Members of the IMO are invited to attend, as well as observers from certain intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
The IMO Council is split up into three categories. Category a includes the 10 member states with the largest interest in providing international shipping services, b includes the 10 states with the largest interest in international seaboard trade, and c includes 20 states which have “special interests in maritime transport or navigation” and are selected to ensure all major geographic areas are represented.
New members to the Council include Sweden, which takes the place of Argentina in category b), and the addition of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Vanuatu to category c. Kuwait, Peru, and South Africa, currently in category c, have been dropped from Council, along with Argentina. Category a remains unchanged.
Newly-Elected IMO Council Members by Category
Category (a): China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States
Category (b): Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates
Category (c): Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Vanuatu.
During its current session, the Assembly adopted amendments to the IMO Convention to expand the size of IMO Council from its current 40 members to 52 members. However, the current structure will remain unchanged until the amendments enter into force, which requires acceptance by two thirds of the IMO Membership, or 116 Member States (based on the current membership of 174 Member States and two Associate Members).
The newly elected IMO Council will meet on December 15th, following the conclusion of the IMO Assembly meeting, to elect its Chair and Vice-Chair for the next biennium.