The Bahamas has been elected to a second two-year term on the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations (UN) agency for the safety of shipping and protection of the maritime environment.

The Assembly, the IMO’s highest policy-making body headquartered in London, consists of160 member countries and meets once every two years. The Council is the principal advisory body of the IMO and consists of 32 countries that are elected every two years by the Assembly.

The Bahamas, which has the third largest fleet of merchant ships in the world and is the third largest contributor to the funding of the IMO, played a very active part in all meetings, committee and working groups during its first term on the Council. These facilitate the IMO’s policy-making and standard-setting activities relating to safe economical sea transport and environmental protection.

The Bahamas’ active involvement in maritime affairs was evidenced recently as well when it became one of the first countries to ratify Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (the MARPOL Convention). Annex VI, which addresses greenhouse gases as a part of air pollution from ships, has an even wider importance for The Bahamas as it counters the emissions that are affecting global warming and sea-level rise.

Basil O’Brien, The Bahamas High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, is also the country’s Permanent Representative at the IMO. The Bahamas Maritime Authority, which oversees ship registration, provides technical support to the Permanent Representative.

IMO Council membership places The Bahamas in a strong and influential position in this international forum, and enables the country to continue to provide a leading role in the deliberations and negotiations of the Council. This further enhances the reputation of The Bahamas as a register of the highest quality.