Australia has successfully been upgraded to Category B of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London overnight.

Australia was supported in the election by 143 of the 162 Member States present and now has the remarkable record of being on the IMO Council for almost 50 years and the first country, together with the United Arab Emirates, to replace an incumbent from Category B.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia would continue to work with the IMO to make it a more modern, innovative and responsive organisation that is able to address pressing maritime priorities and the rapid pace of technological change.

“Election to Category B of the IMO Council will allow Australia to build on decades of positive engagement with the international maritime community and help support and protect our exports and economic competitiveness,” Minister Bishop said.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said he was pleased Australia was elected to Category B and said it better reflected our status as one of the states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade.

“This election reaffirms Australia's contribution to the development and implementation of international standards on maritime safety, security and pollution prevention,” Minister Chester said.

“Through our role on the IMO Council, the Australian Government will do our part to ensure international shipping is safe, reliable and efficient, and protects the marine environment so that all countries can share the benefits of a strong international shipping sector.

“Australia will continue our search and rescue operations in an area that covers one-tenth of the earth’s surface.”

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