The prestigious International Maritime Prize for 2016 has been presented to Koji Sekimizu, former Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for his contribution to the work of IMO over many years.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim presented the prize on Monday at the IMO awards ceremony.
“Mr. Sekimizu has dedicated his career and his lifetime to promoting safety of life at sea and protecting the marine and atmospheric environment. He is truly deserving of the International Maritime Prize,” said Mr Lim.
The IMO Council unanimously decided in July to award the Prize to Mr Sekimizu, IMO Secretary-General Emeritus, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization and the international maritime community as a whole. Mr Sekimizu, a Japanese national, had a long and distinguished career with IMO, culminating in his four-year stewardship as Secretary-General for the four years from 2012 to 2015.
Accepting the prize, Mr Sekimizu expressed his gratitude for the honour and reflected on more than a quarter of a century spent working at IMO.
“I spent the whole of my professional life in the development of international rules and regulations at IMO for the safety at sea and prevention of pollution from ships and ensuring maritime security. It was a great honour for me to serve IMO and the international maritime community as the Secretary-General and I am proud of my life totally devoted to IMO,” said Mr Sekimizu.
Mr Sekimizu was nominated for the prize by the Government of Japan, who highlighted his contribution as director of both the Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Divisions, and as IMO Secretary-General. Mr Sekimizu oversaw the adoption of a number of key instruments, including the amendments to make the IMO Member State Audit Scheme mandatory, the Polar Code, and the Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety. He pushed forward with the reduction of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ships. He also contributed greatly to the enforcement of anti-piracy measures, including setting up the Djibouti Regional Training Centre.
As Secretary-General, Mr Sekimizu worked to strengthen the governance and capacity of IMO’s educational institutions, and the financial sustainability of the World Maritime University. Within IMO, Mr Sekimizu initiated a review and reform process.