THE Philippines, the world’s top supplier of seafarers, was reelected to the executive body of United Nations’ maritime agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council.
The IMO sets the standards for the safety and security of international shipping, overseeing regulations, including labor standards.
Philippine Ambassador to London Teodoro Locsin Jr. vowed to keep the seafarers at the center of the IMO’s agenda.
“[Our seafaring tradition] is not about leaving some behind in any worthy field of human endeavor, but of going farther forward, as can only be done by women and men together. For those of us who are personally descended from seafarers, the sea will always hold the perfume promise of return and the fragrance of hope,” Locsin said in his candidature speech.
Locsin is also the country’s permanent representative to the IMO; thus, he will be sitting in the IMO Council.
“We believe our re-election will allow us to continue contributing to the maritime industry, not just as a top provider of top-caliber seafarers, but also at promoting safe and secure shipping operations, geared towards growth, modernization, resiliency and sustainability.”
Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said in his statement during the 33rd IMO Assembly.
The Philippines is the top supplier of seafarers around the world, providing one-fifth of the world’s 1.2 million seafarers.
The Philippines received 136 votes out of the possible 168 votes, ranking with the fourth highest number of votes among countries vying under category C. The elections were held during the 33rd IMO Assembly at the IMO headquarters in London last December 1. “This is a huge leap from the 112 votes the country received in 2021, showing the trust and confidence of IMO member-state to the maritime credential of the Philippines,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said. The IMO Council seat is the highest ranking that the Philippines garnered at the IMO elections in years, the DFA added.
In 2021, Philippine Ambassador Antonio Manuel Lagdameo was also elected as president of the IMO General Assembly, the highest governing body of the IMO.
Category C of the IMO Council is reserved for states, which have “special interests in maritime transport or navigation.”
Aside from the Philippines, other countries elected to the IMO Council under category C are Bahamas, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Türkiye.
Earlier in the week during the opening session of the 33rd IMO Assembly, H.E. Antonio Lagdameo, former Philippine representative to the IMO, turned over the Philippine presidency of the IMO Assembly to Saudi Arabia.
Image credits: Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB