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Friday, November 16, 2018

Igor Ponomarev will be deeply missed

Sadness, shock and disbelief have greeted the sudden death of Igor Ponomarev. He was Chairman of the International Maritime Organization's most senior technical committee, the Maritime Safety Committee. He chaired his first session in May this year and was working towards the next MSC meeting, due to be held in Istanbul at the end of this month, when he died.


It is thought that he suffered a heart attack at the young age of 41 years, leaving behind his wife Alyona and their son Alex, a student at university in London. INTERTANKO Managing Director Dr Peter Swift says, "Igor's untimely death is a great loss to all of us in INTERTANKO - he was a great friend and a highly respected colleague. Our deepest sympathy goes to Alyona and Alex and our thoughts are with them."


A naval architect, graduating in 1988 from St Petersburg State Maritime Technical University, Ponomarev joined the Russian Register of Shipping (RS) where he rose quickly through the ranks as senior surveyor and principal surveyor, to be head of the international department of RS before being promoted in 1999 to be Vice Director-General of the society. He was Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies in 2001/2, helping to bring to fruition the Unified Requirements for stronger ships.


"In his capacity as IACS Chairman, Igor attended a meeting of INTERTANKO's Technical Committee," says INTERTANKO's Technical Director, Dragos Rauta. "His knowledge and advice, and ultimately his personality, made a strong impression on us. This tragic news has saddened all of us. He made a huge number of good friends in this industry. That was typical of Igor. We will miss him."


A member of the Russian delegation at the IMO since 1993, Ponomarev was a leading light in international shipping regulation. Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to IMO since 2003, he chaired a number of working and drafting groups, notably those on tanker safety and bulk carrier safety from 1999 to 2002. He was Chairman of the Sub-committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) from 2003 to 2005, guiding its members through some particularly difficult technical issues, involving inspection arrangements for bulk carriers and tankers and additional safety measures for bulk carriers under SOLAS Chapter XII.


Always impartial and fair, he had a close understanding of the detailed, technical nature of the work going on at the IMO.


 "Igor was a great friend and a highly talented young man who had all the necessary background, depth of knowledge, courage and wisdom to take on the challenges and the enormous responsibility of chairing the most senior technical committee of IMO," says IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos. "I pay special tribute to Igor for his determination and patience in achieving consensus in all of the committee's decisions in his usual affable and efficient manner. We have all been shocked at the devastating news of the unexpected, untimely, unfair and unjust loss of a friend and colleague, whose short life was entirely dedicated to his family and to shipping, of which he was a committed, tireless servant. His great sense of humour and integrity, combined with leadership, professionalism and technical knowledge are qualities that will ensure his memory is cherished by all."


INTERTANKO's Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Angelo says, "I have known Igor as both a friend and a colleague for the past ten years. I will deeply miss his advice, guidance, warm comforting smile, outstanding professional leadership and continual reminder of the most beautiful city in the world."


Other friends and colleagues believe that his death has robbed global shipping of a man who has done a lot for our industry - and was poised to do a lot more. This is perhaps the hardest thing to accept - that the industry has lost a true professional who was a rising star with so much still to achieve. His energy, exuberance and zest for life set an example to all those who met him, many of whom became close personal friends as well as shipping industry colleagues, and will remain as such an example long after his untimely death.