By John Oyuke
Kenya has been elected into the prestigious council of the world maritime regulatory body, the International Maritime Organisation ( IMO), proving its influence as a significant player in the advancement of global seaborne transport.
The country joins the industrialised and advanced maritime countries that would take and make decisions on how to grow global maritime transport system.
Kenya was elected in category C comprising 20 States, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation. By this vote, Kenya gains the right to representation in all major functions of IMO around the world.
The 169-member IMO is the United Nations specialised agency charged with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
Apart from Kenya, other states in the 20-member category are South Africa, Nigeria, Eqypt, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark and Indonesia. Others are Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey.
The Assembly of the Maritime Organisation also elected 20 other States to be Members of its Council for the 2010-2011 biennium.
Category A consists 10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services. They include China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Korea, Russian, United Kingdom, and United States.
Category B consists 10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. They are Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.
The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, to supervise the work of the organisation.
Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.