New Zealand strengthens international maritime role

28 November 2007

Pacific nations will have a stronger voice on global maritime issues, thanks to New Zealand's election to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council, Transport Safety Minister Harry Duynhoven announced today.

“Maritime New Zealand’s election to the IMO Council is great news, as it means New Zealand will be able to step up its influence in ensuring that international standards of maritime safety, security and marine environment protection continue to be met and improved.

“Membership on the Council is a significant achievement for New Zealand, which is one of 27 countries to stand but one of only 20 to be elected,” said Mr Duynhoven.

The IMO is a specialist agency of the United Nations, charged with developing and promoting common international standards of maritime safety, security and marine environment protection. New Zealand has been an active and respected member of the IMO since 1960. The Council is charged with supervising the work of the IMO and ensuring that its strategic goals are met.

“Maritime New Zealand’s successful bid for election to the Council caps off a year’s worth of excellent work, which was confirmed at a meeting of IMO member countries in London at the weekend. New Zealand’s bid was greatly assisted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand’s High Commission in London.

“Membership on the Council also means New Zealand and other Pacific nations will have a stronger voice on the IMO, as this is a region which has previously been under-represented. This will allow it to address the unique issues facing Pacific states in terms of ship safety standards and security.

“New Zealand has considerable expertise to offer the Council, particularly in the area of Coastal State responsibilities. It will also further strengthen the work New Zealand has been doing in raising issues about maritime biosecurity – in particular, introducing an initiative to the IMO work programme to address the spread of invasive aquatic pests through the bio-fouling of ships,” said Harry Duynhoven today.

Contact:

Peter Burke, Senior Communications Advisor, Ministry of Transport

Phone 04 439 9236/021 659 489

or

Ross Henderson, Maritime New Zealand

Phone 027 243 2662

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