Iman Fiqrie@William E Hamilton

On 10 Aug., 16, His Excellency, IMO Secretary General, Mr. Kitack Lim, came to Malaysian Maritime Academy (MMA) for a visit here in Melaka, Malaysia. We were obviously honoured to have him and tried to make the most of his visit by giving him the grand tour with lots of demonstrations. I’m told he clapped and broke a smile during the big fire demonstration.

After the tour and demos, His Excellency, went to the auditorium, Polaris Hall, for a discussion, question and answer period. It was interesting for him to point out that in his career, he had never really thought that he would actually someday become the IMO Secretary General. To begin with, he emphasized that maybe there are some things that may help contribute to success in general—emphasizing of course that not all of these were his ideas, just what he thinks:
● Health is very important for success, try and stay healthy
● Passion is also very important, without it one may find it difficult to be successful
● Knowledge, i.e., competency is very important for success
● Human relations with people is important for success
● Strength or strategies; where you are now and where you are going, you must know in order to be successful.

His Excellency also emphasized that we will be joining shipping and that shipping is an important part of International Logistics. That without shipping, there would be no real trade and this is important for both the economy and world trade. And, also that this means that the human factor is very important. For example, working on board– the human factor includes:
● Conditions onboard
● Port facilities
● Our safety, think of our family—so we have to be safe.

His Excellency, then took and answered a few questions:
Question #1. His Excellency, what is your opinion on progress of the rest hour periods onboard ship?

His Excellency reminded us that there is a convention for this, the MLC (Maritime Labor Convention) that is well established, how effective it is has to do with the human element. He also pointed out that the IMO used to have collaboration with the ILO (International Labor Organization), but not so much now. We must take from the heart this human element and have fair treatment. He also mentioned

something called ICCD; Effective Implementation, Capacity building, Communication and Data as the majority of these issues are caused by the human element.

In between questions, His Excellency, mentioned that Polar Navigation or Polar Code was mandatory, there’s lots of equipment and technology involved. Again, the human element is still a factor.

Question #2. His Excellency, what is your opinion about safety and terrorism, what’s the IMO’s role?

His Excellency, said we’ve suffered from security threats, especially in South East Asia (SEA), Gulf of Aden (GOA) and areas off the West Coast of Africa (WCA). In the GOA, we’ve made progress and have good communication; Off the WCA, there are mechanisms that are progressing; and in SEA, there have been some concerns. There are some initiatives that include the private sector.

Along these same lines on the question of security, there must be close relations with reference to Cyber Security, last May some guidelines were adopted. In Port Authorities, this is a good place to look at Cyber Security which is becoming more of an issue.

As to the question of security, vessels are carrying more dangerous cargoes, we also have to look at passenger ships to try and avoid possible attacks.

Question # 3. His Excellency, what is the IMO’s plan for ensuring short and long term communications?

His Excellency, said the STCW is based on proper communication. We’ve recently had good cooperation and training with Korea in Busan. The IMO is promoting communication, but in order to promote this—it costs money, there are budgeting constraints. Capacity building is important. So, communication in that regard and securing budgets. His Excellency mentioned that ALAM was a very good example of this, excellent. ALAM has good facilities, a learning environment with bright students and passionate faculty. The students seem ambitious and keen. It’s a very good world class Maritime Education and Training (MET). Not many institutions also have a Rating program, it’s very impressive.

Lastly, during the discussion, His Excellency, said that he would always try and be a good friend and that if we were ever in London, please pay him a visit.

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