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Arsenio Dominguez confirmed as next IMO Secretary-General

Photo: IMO Kitack Lim and Arsenio Dominguez
Arsenio Antonio Dominguez has been confirmed as the next Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in a unanimous vote.

The IMO Assembly unanimously approved Thursday, the decision of the Council at its 129th session to appoint him to the role.

Dominguez will take up the office of Secretary-General on 1 January 2024 for an initial term of four years, ending on 31 December 2027. He becomes the Organisation's 10th elected Secretary-General.

"I am confident that the Membership as a whole has made a wise decision, and that Mr. Dominguez Velasco will ably lead the Secretariat in promoting the mandate of the Organisation and in the delivery of its objectives," said the outgoing Secretary-General, Kitack Lim.

Secretary-General Lim pledged to work with Arsenio Dominguez to ensure an orderly and successful hand-over and, in what he called a "symbolic act of transition and succession", he handed a comprehensive briefing paper to Dominguez to assist him in his preparation for the role of Secretary-General. 

"You have my full commitment to build on the great work that has been done by my predecessors, taking what is already a significant and influential organisation, to be an institution that will thrive in delivering its full agenda, from safety to decarbonisation, from digitalisation to the human element; an International Maritime Organisation that not only looks towards the future, but does more in embracing change, diversity, inclusion and transparency; one that is dedicated to its people, from all the very professional staff that form the IMO Secretariat, to our seafarers worldwide and perhaps most importantly, a dedication to the younger generations, the ones we are obliged to hand over to, to hand over a planet that is a better place to live in," said, Arsenio Dominguez.

"I want to reiterate how much I'm looking forward to leading IMO, to continue working with all of you, an extraordinary group of people who have demonstrated time and time again that we can deliver, by listening and understanding each other, sharing our aims and concerns. I'm very lucky to start with an already great team of professionals in the Secretariat who also want what is best for the Member States and all our stakeholders," he added.

Arsenio Dominguez, a Panamanian national, is the first Latin American to be elected Secretary-General. Currently, he is Director of IMO's Marine Environment Division. He joined the IMO Secretariat in 2017 as Chief of Staff to the Secretary-General, Kitack Lim and in 2020 he was appointed as Director of the Organisation's Administrative Division.

His maritime career began in 1996 as a port engineer and in 1998, he moved to London to join the Panama Maritime Authority culminating in his appointment as Panama's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to IMO between 2014 and 2017.

He graduated as a Naval Architect at the University of Veracruz, Mexico. He also holds an MBA from the University of Hull, and a Certificate of Higher Education in International Law and European Politics from Birkbeck University, both in the United Kingdom.