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South Korea wins IMO top job

South Korea's Lim Ki-tack has been elected new Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, confirms the IMO. Denmark's Andreas Nordseth faced off against the South Korean candidate in the final voting round.

Photo: Ki-tack Lim

The UN's International Maritime Organization, IMO, has now elected its new Secretary General after a close finish with only two contenders left at the end. The job went to South Korea's Lim Ki-tack, which means he will succeed Japan's Koji Sekimizu, confirms the IMO on Twitter following Tuesday's vote.

The South Korean was initially not seen as having a serious chance of reaching the end game for the coveted job, where Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority, Andreas Nordseth, had been named a shoe-in for the job by numerous observers, and the Danish candidate campaigned extensively ahead of Tuesday's vote. On the other hand, the outcome is not a complete surprise, as Lim Ki-tack has in recent weeks been mentioned as a dark horse that could not be ignored in the weeks leading up to the vote. However, Andreas Nordseth made it to the end game and was one of the two remaining candidates in the final vote, sources tell ShippingWatch.

And the length of the vote illustrates the close race, as it took almost four hours to elect a final winner, and people present at the vote describe the process as the most intensive and comprehensive of its kind in IMO history. One by one, the original field of six candidates was narrowed down during the voting process, and this afternoon Lim Ki-tack was last man standing. According to ShippingWatch's sources, Andreas Nordseth was not defeated by a large margin.

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During the vote Tuesday, the IMO Council met in the morning, and the process began with the delegations from each of the six countries with candidates presenting their particular candidate. They were three minutes each. Following this, the voting began and one candidate after the other was eliminated.

Lim Ki-tack currently heads Busan Port Authority. He was educated at Korea Maritime and Ocean University and has served in South Korea's maritime administration for close to 30 years under changing governments. He has also been active in the IMO since the mid 1980s and has a solid international network.

A total of six candidates campaigned for the IMO top job. In addition to Ki-tack Lim and Denmark's Andreas Nordseth, the race featured Cyprus' Andreas Chrysostomou, Russia's Vitaly Klyuev, deputy director of Russia's Ministry of Transport, and Kenya's Juvenal Shundu.

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Lim Ki-tack will now be recommended for approval by the entire IMO Assembly, which is comprised of all of the IMO member countries. The Assembly will approve the council's decision at a meeting which will presumably be held on the 23rd of November and last until the 2nd of December this year.

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