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Monday, October 15, 2018

Lloyd’s Register marks the retirement of IMO Secretary-General Bill O’Neil

The quiet man is not going to be allowed to go quietly. After 14 years as Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, the retirement of the quiet but determined Canadian engineer is being marked throughout the shipping industry with a number of receptions, lunches and dinners – including the conferral of an Honorary Doctorate of Science by the CityUniversity earlier this week.

Lloyd’s Register gathered together some of the great and good of the London shipping community for a dinner at its refurbished London HQ to mark Bill O’Neil’s departure. “He has left a positive and personal signature in IMO,” said LR Executive Chairman David Moorhouse. In an era where political criteria can take precedence over solutions that add value and save lives, “IMO occupies the high ground on ship safety,” he said, presenting O’Neil with an engraved Elizabethan silver alms dish.

14 years ago, IMO had lost a bit of focus, recalled O’Neil, needing a face to the huge organisation. Well, O’Neil has provided that face with his energetic championing of efficient international shipping regulation. “The deal WAS that IMO sets the standards and the |EU implements them. The EU’s thinking it is getting into the regulatory business (of shipping) is a big mistake,” he says.

However he adds that he has worked to bring IMO closer to the real world, to react to actuality. “The industry wants IMO to be strong. If you’re not going to understand the politics of the situation, you aren’t going to achieve much.”

He chose four key tenets for IMO to take on into the future: technical competence, political acuity, a sound economic basis, and common sense.

Contact: Bill Box