Filipino among candidates for top post in UN maritime body

The Philippines, supplying 30 percent of seafarers worldwide, may soon hold the top post in International Maritime Organization (IMO) – the United Nations (UN) body governing the global shipping industry. The voting for IMO Secretary General is set tomorrow, June 30 at IMO Headquarters in London.

Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya will be casting the country’s vote for the said IMO position.

Dr. Maximo Q. Mejia, Jr., who currently serves as Administrator of the Philippines’ Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is one of 6 candidates to be the next Secretary General of the IMO. He is the one responsible for securing the country’s Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) compliance.

“It would bring great pride and honor to the country for a Filipino to head the IMO. We are here to rally behind the Philippines’ bet Dr. Mejia, who is a most-qualified candidate as a internationally-acknowledged expert in maritime industry,” DOTC’s Abaya said.

“Filipinos are the preferred seafarers worldwide because they are competent, hardworking, and trustworthy. It would only be fitting, therefore, to have a competent, hardworking, and trustworthy Filipino trailblazing the future of the global industry at the helm of the IMO,” Secretary Abaya added.

Dr. Mejia taught as a Professor at the World Maritime University (WMU) in Sweden, where he was also Head of its Maritime Law and Policy program. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the US Naval Academy, two (2) Masters degrees from Tuft University and WMU, respectively, and a Doctorate from Lund University. He also served as a commissioned officer for the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Currently, Koji Sekimizu from Japan is the Sec-Gen of IMO.