Accessions have come thick and fast this week, coinciding with the 29th session of the IMO (International Maritime Organization) Assembly - where Kitack Lim was also confirmed as new secretary-general of the UN body as of 1 January 2016.
Morocco kick-started the process on Monday 23 November, taking the number of countries to have ratified the BWM Convention to 45, representing 32.93% of world tonnage, just shy of the 35% required to trigger automatic entry into force in 12 months’ time.
Then on Tuesday 24 November 24 Indonesia signed up, leading outgoing IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu to announce that the Convention would enter into force on 24 November 2016, subject to verification that Indonesia’s fleet would indeed make up the 2.07% shortfall.
With Ghana now having followed suit and Finland poised to do likewise, an official announcement of the entry into force of the Ballast Water Convention is deemed imminent – and not a moment too soon for the community of BWM system suppliers, nor indeed shipyards facing a massive number of system retrofits to schedule.
Separately, the IMO Assembly also yesterday confirmed the appointment of Kitack Lim (Republic of Korea) as new secretary-general for a four-year term beginning January 1, in line with the results of the election process for the post that culminated in his winning the end-June vote.
Lim began attending IMO meetings as part of the Korean delegation as far back as 1986. In 2004 he was elected Chairman of the Tokyo Memorandum on Port State Control, and in 2006, he was appointed as Maritime Attaché, minister-counsellor at the Embassy in London and led all IMO work for Korea, serving as Deputy Permanent Representative to IMO up to August 2009.
He was then appointed as Director General for Maritime Safety Policy Bureau at the Headquarters of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM), and led the Korean delegation to the IMO Assembly in 2009.
In March 2011, Lim was appointed Commissioner of the Korean Maritime Safety Tribunal (KMST), and in July 2012, he assumed the position of President of Busan Port Authority, a post he relinquished shortly after winning the IMO secretary-general vote.