One of the six candidates for Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a Filipino: Dr. Maximo Mejia Jr., currently the administrator of the country’s Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the Philippines is supporting Mejia’s bid for the four-year post in elections to be held at the IMO headquarters in London on June 30.
As the transport chief, Abaya will cast the country’s vote at the polls.
“It would bring great pride and honor to the country for a Filipino to head the IMO. We are here to rally behind the Philippines’ bet Dr. Mejia, who is a most-qualified candidate as a internationally-acknowledged expert in maritime industry,” he said.
“Filipinos are the preferred seafarers worldwide because they are competent, hardworking, and trustworthy. It would only be fitting, therefore, to have a competent, hardworking, and trustworthy Filipino trailblazing the future of the global industry at the helm of the IMO,” Abaya said.
The country supplies 30 percent of the manning requirements of the world’s ocean-going vessels, he added.
Mejia began his career as a 19-year-old midshipman at the US Naval Academy, then later served as a commissioned officer for the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard. He has held various posts, such as Deputy Executive Director of the Task Force on Maritime Development, and has been a member of the IMO-STCW Panel of Competent Persons.
Prior to heading MARINA, Mejia taught as a Professor at the World Maritime University (WMU) in Sweden, where he was also Head of its Maritime Law and Policy program. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the US Naval Academy, two Masters degrees from Tuft University and WMU, respectively, and a Doctorate from Lund University.