IMO Director of Legal Affairs Lectures on Obligations of Maritime Administrations

On 1 February, WMU students in the Maritime Law & Policy specialization had the opportunity to interact with Mr Frederick Kenney, Director of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, who delivered an online lecture on the Introduction to Roles and Obligations of Maritime Administrations. 

Complementing the core instruction by resident faculty, Mr Kenney’s lecture focused on the implementation of IMO instruments, the legal structure as well as current issues. Looking at the maritime industry historically, Mr Kenney emphasized the increased focus of the IMO in recent years on the implementation of IMO instruments. He referred to the increase over the last decades of open registries and the growth of the shipping industry. He also highlighted deficiencies in the observance of standards relating to the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment. Port State control has been an important remedy to address the noticeable low performance of some flag States. Currently, the IMO Mandatory Member Audit Scheme has proven to be inclusive in helping to support the implementation of international standards across the maritime sector. 

From student observations regarding the lecture, Mr Lucky Sithole from South Africa and Mr Edgar Micheo from Guatemala conveyed that Mr Kenney clearly demonstrated the importance of the IMO for the future of shipping. They noted that Mr Kenney directly challenged the students to widen their scope of thinking and highlighted their responsibility as maritime leaders of tomorrow to ensure that their countries would continue to support IMO in its mission to ensure safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans.

At IMO, Mr Kenney is responsible for advising the IMO Secretary‐General on all legal issues associated with the functioning of IMO, with special emphasis on matters of treaty law and the law of the sea; provides legal counsel to staff supporting IMO’s committees and subcommittees and has particular responsibility as Secretary for the Organization’s Legal Committee. He oversees IMO’s role as depositary for the 53 multilateral Conventions adopted under its aegis. Before joining IMO, Mr Kenney served in high-ranking positions in the United States Coast Guard.

The overall course provides a broad overview and appreciation of the role of government in the administration of maritime affairs. It examines maritime administration conceptually and in terms of maritime governance such as implementation of maritime Conventions, particularly under the IMO III Code; flag, port, and coastal State obligations through maritime administrations and other responsible agencies. Mr Kenney also provided an overview of the IMO Mandatory Member State Audit Scheme as a tool to assess member State performance.

The Malmö MSc in Maritime Affairs is a 14-month programme with seven specializations: Maritime Education & Training; Maritime Energy Management; Maritime Law & Policy; Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration; Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management; Port Management, and Shipping Management & Logistics. Foundation studies are taught in the first term and cover the introductory knowledge that is fundamental to all activities in the maritime field. Three successive terms focus on specialization studies and a dissertation. WMU has more than 150 Visiting Lecturers from around the world who contribute their expertise to enrich the education of WMU students.

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