Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the IMO Secretariat continues to function effectively. The London Headquarters building has reopened following deep cleaning and sanitization. However, in line with advice from the host Government, the majority of staff are working remotely, making full use of telecommuting and teleconferencing technology. External visits have been postponed and social visits are discouraged. A number of IMO Committee and Sub-Committee meetings have been postponed (see press briefing here for details).
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim stressed the need to move to this operational mode to help protect staff and visitors and to contribute to wider efforts to mitigate the impact of the disease. He also acknowledged the impact that COVID-19 is having not only on the shipping industry but on the world as a whole. However, he hoped any negative impact it might have on the good progress being made at IMO on key policy issues such as environmental protection, would be short-lived.
He emphasized that, despite working from home, IMO staff remain fully committed to supporting the Member States and delivering on the Organization’s objectives and mandates.