Kenya Retains Its Global Maritime Seat

1 December 2019

Kenya has retained its seat on the Council of the International Maritime Organisation, giving it a chance to continue playing a role in global shipping rule making.

The vote on Friday evening in London saw 174 member states take part with Kenya retaining its seat under Category C of 20 countries usually reserved for those with special interest in maritime transport or navigation. In Africa, Morocco, South Africa, Liberia and Egypt are the other members of Category C.

SPECIAL INTERESTS

Kenya holds special interests in maritime transport and navigation as the coastal, port and flag state "whose strategic location along the Eastern Africa coast makes it a most important cog in the wheel of steering global shipping," according to Maritime PS Nancy Karigithu who led the delegation to the polls.

"Our re-election to the council will ensure continued representation of a major geographic area in Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes region consisting of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda," she said on Saturday.

Kenya's High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu, also the Permanent Representative to the IMO, said he was delighted by the vote result.

"It confirms the world's confidence on our leadership around maritime transport and safety, and our commitment to the Blue Economy," he said.

HEAVY LOBBYING

Kenya joined the IMO in 1973 and was first elected to the Council under Category "C" in 2001 and has been re-elected in subsequent elections to date, the last being in 2017.

It is one seat at a UN agency where Kenya has dominated lately. But this election saw heavy lobbying.

Some marine and shipping giants like Sweden, Nigeria and Liberia lost their bids. Qatar, a wealthy oil producer as well as Qatar and Saudi Arabia also lost out.

The IMO is the specialised agency that determines rules on shipping safety and environment.

With more than 80 per cent of global trade running on seas, the IMO's regulatory framework determines how shipping lines and ports operate.

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