Business News of 2013-12-17

Ghanaian receives international maritime prize

A renowned Ghanaian maritime lawyer, Dr Thomas Mensah, has received the meritorious 2012 International Maritime Prize at a ceremony in London, United Kingdom.

The International Maritime Prize (IMP) is awarded annually by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations Organisation on maritime to an individual or organisation judged to have made the most significant contributions to the work and objectives of the IMO.

The winner is annually selected out of nominations from all IMO member countries.

The award consists of a sculptured dolphin and an undisclosed amount of money.

The winner of the annual prize is required to present a paper on a theme related to the works of the IMO, to be published in the IMO’s quarterly magazine.

Dr Mensah is the first sub-Saharan African to receive this award since its inception 32 years ago.

He gained recognition based on his significant contributions since joining the legal division of the IMO in 1968.

Receiving the award, Dr Mensah thanked the IMO for the honour done him.

He said as the legal adviser, he played a part in setting out the terms and conditions of the award when it was established in 1980, “but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would one day be deemed worthy of the prize”.

He noted that he had spent more than 20 years of his early professional career with the IMO. It was at IMO, he said, that he received his education and training in maritime law and in international relations and “such reputation as l have acquired had been due almost entirely to my work and career here”.

He thanked the Government of Ghana for nominating him for the award.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, on behalf of the President of Ghana, congratulated Dr Mensah on the honour brought to the country.

She said Dr Mensah had availed himself to be consulted on key issues of importance to Ghana. She explained that he had guided the country through considerable difficult situations in terms of valuable advice.

His achievements, she noted, had put Ghana on the world map and raised her image in the International maritime community.

Present at the ceremony, which was attended by family and friends of Dr Mensah, was the Director of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Mr I. P. Azuma, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Mr Kofi Mbiah and Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, a prominent Ghanaian lawyer.

Dr Mensah began his legal career as an associate legal officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna in 1965.

He joined the IMO in 1981 as a Director of the legal office.

He is the former President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, an Assistant Secretary General and Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations Division of the IMO.

All these positions he held from 1981 to 1990, aside, being a visiting Professor at the World Maritime University at Malmo-Sweden.

His contributions to the IMO includes: Civil Liability Conventions, the FUND Convention, the Athens Convention, and the SUA treaty which were all adopted on safety of navigation. The TONNAGE Convention, COLREG, the SOLAS Conventions, the STWC Convention and the SAR Conventions were also adopted on the Protection of the Marine Environment.

He contributed to the development of the United Nations Conventions of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),

The London Convention, MARPOL 7378, and 1990 OPRC, these amendments made it possible for the IMO’s treaties and instruments to keep abreast of technological advancements and social needs of maritime nations.

He helped to establish the terms and conditions of this award.

On leaving the IMO, he became the special advisor on Environmental Law and Institution in Nairobi (UNEP), the Cleveringa Professor of Law, Leide (1903-1994), Professor, University of Hawaii (1993-1995) and Ghana’s first High Commissioner to South Africa (1996).

He was recognised and inducted into the Maritime Hall of Fame in New York in 1998.