‘The next 30 years will see more change than in the past 100 years’: IMO secretary-general

Kitack Lim, secretary general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), made his pitch today to keep the UN body at the centre of global shipping regulations.

In an address to the hundreds of delegates attending Capital Link’s conference in Athens, Lim discussed the likely disruptions coming shipping’s way.

“The next 30 years will see more change than in the past 100 years,” Lim said, urging owners to study and understand all the new technology coming to shipping such as new fuels and automation. “Shipping is entering a new era,” he said, adding that the regulatory framewort needs to be considered very carefully.

“IMO must be ready,” he said, adding: “Our challenge must be to ensure that the benefits of these technologies can be fully realised while still being safe and environmentally friendly.”

IMO has come under repeated attack from many in the industry who believe that its slowness to adopt regulatory changes will mean it will be left increasingly behind the pace of technology change.

Lim was introduced on stage by his predecessor at IMO, Efthymios Mitropoulos, who admitted: “These are not easy times for IMO and its secretary-general.”

Lim, who has been in charge of the IMO for the past two years, used his speech to once again reiterate that the 2020 deadline for implementation of the global sulphur cap will not be pushed back.

“There are certain challenges we have to resolve in a most amicable way,” he said, urging industry representatives to join IMO member states at a key intersessional meeting at the UN body this July to discuss some of the technical aspects of the impending sulphur cap.


Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The Collision Regulations are 46 years old. They do not mention ARPA, or AIS, or VHF.

    Might this be a place to start?

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