The first Panamanian and Latin American candidate to be nominated for the position, Arsenio Antonio Domínguez Velasco, has been selected from a slate of candidates from 7 member states for the position of IMO Secretary-General.

Naval architect Arsenio Antonio Domínguez Velasco currently serves as Director of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Division, after serving as Director of the Administrative Division and Chief of Staff and the Organization.

Mr. Kitack Lim will step down as secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as his term is about to expire on 31st of December 2023.

Upon confirmation from the IMO Assembly (anticipated to convene in late 2023), Velasco will serve as Secretary-General from January 2024, commencing a four-year term.

Panama’s Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney tweeted “Today we make history. For the first time, a Latin American and Panamanian will lead the International Maritime Organization. Congratulations Arsenio for this achievement. It is yours and an entire region. We are sure that you will take it to the height of the position. Thanks to the international community, for having placed their trust in this Panamanian.”

The President of the Republic Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, who on behalf of Panama formalized through a note the candidacy of the country, said: “As a maritime country, it is an honor that Arsenio Dominguez, has been elected new Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization – IMO.”

The IMO, which has 175 member states and three associate members, is the world authority responsible for setting standards for safety, security and environmental performance to be observed in international shipping and Panama has been a member since December 31, 1958.

Panama competed in this election for the General Secretariat of the IMO against countries such as Turkey, Dominica, Kenya, Finland and China.

According to Panamanian Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney, the triumph is the result of the teamwork of the Panamanian Embassy in the United Kingdom, the Embassy and Permanent Representative of Panama to the IMO, the candidacy team of the Directorate of International Organizations and Conferences of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Panama Maritime Authority.