Panama’s Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco elected as next IMO Secretary-General


The IMO Council has voted to appoint Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco of the Republic of Panama, for an initial four-year term, as next Secretary-General. He will succeed Mr. Kitack Lim as of 1 January 2024, subject to the IMO Assembly’s approval.

Naval architect Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco, the first Panamanian and Latin American candidate for this position, has more than 25 years of professional experience in the international maritime world, in addition to his contributions as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Panama to the IMO. He is currently Director of the Marine Environment Protection Division of the IMO, after serving as director of the Administrative Division and head of Cabinet and of the Organization, giving him the trajectory and experience required for his new position in London.

“It is a historic day that fills us with great pride,” said the President of the Republic of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, who had formally proposed the candidacy of the country for the top post at the IMO under the slogan: “Taking the initiative for a united and better future”.

In a statement, Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, said: “It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work with Kitack Lim over the past eight years. Kitack steered the International Maritime Organization successfully through challenging times, calmly and with direction, and everyone at the International Chamber of Shipping wishes Kitack every success in his future endeavours.

“We look forward to working with Mr. Arsenio Dominguez, and know that Mr Dominguez will lead with equal measures of authority, purpose and compassion. The position of IMO Secretary General is not an easy one, and there are undoubtedly challenges ahead as the industry strives to meet the 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets, but it will be a pleasure to tackle these challenges head on with Mr. Dominguez for a better and safer future for our industry and its people.”

It is understood that the Panamanian candidate won the final round of the IMO Council election with more than half of the total votes cast, ahead of runner-up candidates from Turkey and Finland, nominees from Bangladesh, Dominica Republic, Kenya and China having either withdrawn just before the contest began or been eliminated in the three initial rounds of the vote.