Efthimios E. Mitropoulos

Chancellor (2004-May 2012)


Efthimios (Thimio) E. Mitropoulos was born in Piraeus, Greece, on 30 May 1939, to a genuinely maritime family, being the son of a merchant navy chief engineer officer father and of a mother the daughter of a shipmaster and owner of brigantines and schooners captained by his sons. The family comes from Galaxidi, a major Greek maritime centre during the tall ships' era.

In 1957 he entered the Aspropyrgos Merchant Marine Academy and, in 1958, was appointed Captain of the Academy. He graduated with honours in 1959 as chief of his class.

Between 1959 and 1962, he served as apprentice, second and chief deck officer on merchant ships on voyages around the world and, in 1962, he entered the Hellenic Coast Guard Academy as chief of his class. He graduated in 1964, again as chief of his class with honours.

He then started his career as a commissioned Coast Guard Officer in Corfu, first and Piraeus, later. He retired with the rank of Rear Admiral.

In 1965 he won a scholarship to study shipping economics in Italy (Rome, Venice and Genoa) and in 1970 he was selected to study marine technology (fire protection and life-saving appliances) in the United Kingdom (Lloyd's Register of Shipping).

Between 1966 and 1977 he participated, initially as a member and later as Head of the Greek Delegation, in the work of various Sub-Committees and the Maritime Safety Committee of IMO (which he served also as vice-chairman and chairman of working groups). He also participated in the work of Council and the Assembly as well as at the 1972 Collision Regulations and 1974 Safety of Life at Sea Conferences convened by IMO, where he was elected first Vice-Chairman of the Technical Committee of both. He attended the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1975-1977) as the representative of the Greek Ministry of Mercantile Marine at the multi-ministerial Greek delegation.

During his service with the Greek Maritime Administration, he participated at meetings of ILO, UNCTAD, OECD and the Consultative Shipping Group, while his association with IMO goes back to 1965 when he first represented Greece at the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Fire Protection in December of that year.

Between 1967 and 1972, he laid the foundations for the establishment of what has now become Greece's Joint Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Centre.

Between 1972 and 1976, he regularly lectured at the Hellenic Coast Guard Academy and the Greek Master Mariners' Centre of Superior Studies on shipping economics and policy and maritime safety/safety of navigation subjects, respectively.

Between 1977 and 1979 he was Harbour Master of Corfu, with responsibility for the sea area surrounding Corfu and all the nearby Greek islands from the safety, security and environmental protection points of view.

Author of several books on shipping economics and policy, categories/types of merchant vessels, safety of navigation and other shipping-related matters (see attachment). His book on "Tankers: Evolution and technical issues" won first prize at a panhellenic competition to mark the Year of Shipping, 1969

Joined IMO in January 1979 as Implementation Officer in the Maritime Safety Division and in October 1985 was appointed Head of the Navigation Section. In 1989 he was promoted to Senior Deputy Director for Navigation and Related Matters and in May 1992 was appointed Director of the Maritime Safety Division and Secretary of the Maritime Safety Committee.

Between 1989 and 1998, he led IMO's efforts to establish a global Search and Rescue (SAR) Plan through regional Conferences in Lisbon, Cape Town, Seoul, Valencia and Fremantle and a Conference in Florence to specifically consider SAR matters pertaining to Africa.

In May 2000, he was appointed Assistant Secretary-General retaining his duties as Director of the Maritime Safety Division, and in November 2003, Mr. Mitropoulos was elected Secretary-General for the period 2004 to 2008. In November 2006, the IMO Council decided to renew his mandate for another 4 years, concluding 31 December 2011.

In June 2004, he was appointed Chancellor of the World Maritime University (Malmö, Sweden) and Chairman of the Governing Board of the International Maritime Law Institute (Malta).