Arsenio Antonio Velasco is new IMO secretary-general

Arsenio Antonio Velasco is new IMO secretary-general
Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco will be the 10th secretary general of the International Maritime Organization. He assumes the post from January 1, 2024. Photo from IMO.
  • Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco is the next secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization
  • Velasco’s appointment was unanimously endorsed by the Organization Assembly on November 30, following the Council’s decision at its 129th session
  • Dominguez Velasco will assume office on January 1, 2024, for an initial four-year term, succeeding Kitack Lim
  • Lim expressed confidence in Dominguez Velasco’s leadership, emphasizing a commitment to a smooth transition and collaboration

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly has unanimously approved the appointment of Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco as the next secretary-general.

The decision, endorsed on November 30, follows the Council’s resolution during its 129th session. Dominguez Velasco is set to officially assume the role on January 1, 2024, marking the commencement of his initial four-year term, concluding on December 31, 2027. He will be the 10th elected secretary-general to steer the Organization.

The outgoing secretary-general, Kitack Lim, expressed his confidence in the decision, extending his congratulations to Dominguez Velasco and affirming the latter’s capability in leading the secretariat.

Lim said, “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 Organization and in the delivery of its objectives.”

In a symbolic gesture of transition, Lim handed over a comprehensive briefing paper to Dominguez Velasco, facilitating his preparation for the role of secretary-general. Lim also pledged to collaborate with his successor for a seamless handover process.

Addressing the Assembly, Dominguez Velasco conveyed his commitment to building on the accomplishments of his predecessors. He emphasized steering the IMO towards greater heights, embracing change, diversity, inclusion, and transparency.

Dominguez Velasco highlighted IMO’s dedication to its people, from the professional staff forming the secretariat to seafarers worldwide and, notably, the commitment to younger generations.

He said, “I want to reiterate how much I am 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.”

Dominguez Velasco’s journey to the pinnacle of the IMO began in 2017 when he joined as chief of staff to the then-secretary-general, Kitack Lim. In 2020, he was appointed as the director of IMO’s Administrative Division. Presently, he serves as the director of Marine Environment Division, a role he assumed in January 2022.

His maritime career began in 1996 as a port engineer at Armadores del Caribe in Panama, followed by becoming a drydock assistant manager at Braswell Shipyard. In 1998, Dominguez Velasco moved to London to take on the role of head of the Technical and Documentation Regional Office for Europe and North Africa at the Panama Maritime Authority. Over the years, he represented Panama in various capacities, ultimately serving as Panama’s ambassador and permanent representative to IMO from 2014 to 2017.

During his tenure, Dominguez Velasco chaired IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee and led the Technical Committee of the 25th session of the IMO Assembly in 2015. Additionally, he chaired the Maritime Security–Piracy and Armed Robbery Working Group under the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee.

Born in the Republic of Panama, Dominguez Velasco graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Fermin Naudeu Institute in Panama. He pursued Naval Architecture at the University of Veracruz, Mexico, graduating in 1995. Dominguez Velasco 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.

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