AUSTRALIA has been re-elected to the International Maritime Organization Council for the 2024-25 biennium.

Australia is one of 10 member states elected to category b of the council. The category comprises the states deemed to have the largest interest in international seaborne trade.

Australia was a founding member of the IMO and has been on the IMO Council for more than 50 years, according to the federal government. The new council was elected at the 33rd session of the IMO Assembly in London.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority led the nation’s re-election campaign with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

Federal minister for infrastructure and transport Catherine King said Australia’s reappointment to the IMO Council fortifies the nation’s commitment to a sustainable and secure future for global shipping.

“We are proud to have successfully championed a range of reforms to make the [IMO] more open, fair, transparent and accessible to all,” Ms King said.

“We look forward to continuing our active engagement in shaping policies that safeguard the interests of our nation and the international maritime community.”

AMSA CEO Mick Kinley said Australia’s re-appointment was a testament to Australia’s substantial maritime claims; he said Australia recorded 28,000 port visits in 2022-23 alone.

“We also have the world’s third-largest exclusive economic zone and our search and rescue region covers 10% of the earth’s surface,” he said.

“While Australia manages one of the world’s largest shipping tasks, our coastlines and diverse marine environments are integral to our nation’s environmental and cultural heritage, and economic prosperity, therefore, sustainability remains a top priority.”

Mr Kinley said Australia’s position would ensure the interests of the nation and region continue to be represented at the forefront of international maritime policy development.

“Australia’s re-appointment reinforces our nation’s continued dedication to address new challenges arising from emerging technology, global trade expansion, demographic shifts and environmental events,” he said.

“Our ultimate goal is to secure a safe and sustainable future for global shipping.”

Maritime Industry Australia congratulated the federal government and AMSA on the outcome.

MIAL CEO Angela Gillham said the re-election was a reflection of Australia’s status as a maritime nation.

“It is vital that Australia is represented at the highest levels of international maritime policy making in the appropriate category for a nation reliant on seaborne trade,” Ms Gillham said.

“Australia’s ongoing engagement at IMO is critical to maintaining a consistent global regulatory framework, a level playing field upon which to do business in Australia, and that Australian interests feature in the making of international shipping law.

“AMSA is held in the highest regard internationally for their dedication to ensuring the highest safety standards are upheld and this work starts with negotiations at the IMO.”

Ms Gillham said the Australian government had this year taken strides toward “revitalising Australia” as a maritime nation.

“Re-election to the IMO Council ensures that the important work still to be done domestically in securing Australia’s sovereign maritime capability, shipping decarbonisation, and addressing the maritime skills crisis and ensuring maritime workers are skilled for future advancements will not take place in a vacuum and will align with international efforts to meet similar challenges,” she said.

The other states in category b are Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.

Alongside category b, category a comprises 10 states with an interest in providing international shipping services and category c consists of 20 states special interests in maritime transport or navigation, and who would ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.

Countries elected to category a are China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Norway, Panama, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Countries elected to category c are the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Türkiye.