Pretoria: 09 December 2021
Contestation among Member States for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 40-member Council comes to a head this Friday when the organisation will announce who among the 48 contestants will either retain, lose or secure their seats; and South Africa is among five African countries in the list of contestants.
The Council is an executive organ of IMO, responsible for supervising the work of the organization. The Council is made up of 40 Member States, elected by the Assembly for two-year terms. The outgoing was elected in 2019.
An interesting new development before the IMO General Assembly’s 32nd Regular Session currently underway in a hybrid model in London, from Monday this week through to Wednesday week, is a proposal by the outgoing Council for the expansion of the body by an additional 12 members, to a total 52.
However, according to the world’s maritime regulatory body, until such proposal is approved and adopted by at least two thirds of the IMO Membership, or 116 Member States (based on the current membership of 174 Member States and two Associate Members), the status quo will remain.
Therefore, the IMO says; on Friday (10 December), a new 40-member IMO Council for the 2022-2023 biennium will be elected utilising in-person private ballot.
Contestation for the 40 seats falls into three categories;
- Category A (10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services:),
- Category B (10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade) and
- Category C, (20 States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.)
According to the IMO, 48 countries including South Africa are in the running. These include 10 Members States in Category A, 11 Members States in Category B and as many as 27 Members States in Category C.
However, with Category (A) having virtually no seeming contest (10 seats and 10 candidates), and Category (B) having 11 contestants for the 10 seats available; the biggest challenge is – for all intents and purposes – in Category C, the one in which South Africa slots, where 27 Members States are vying for the 20 seats available.
The IMO provided the names of candidate Members States for the 40-Member Council in each category as follows:
- Category (A): China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- Category (B): Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
- Category (C): Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vanuatu.
In terms of the current contest for seats and due to end Friday, in Category (A), all the listed Member States candidates are already serving, except for Northern Ireland. In Category (B), new candidates are the United States and Sweden, the former having slotted in Category (A) of the outgoing Council in 2019.
In Category (C) where the battle for a seat is truly hot, new contestants include Bangladesh, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, and Vanuatu – with Kuwait, which served in the outgoing Council, not listed as a candidate.
The newly elected Council to be confirmed on Friday will then meet on 16 December for the Council’s 126th session and will elect its Chair and Vice-Chair.