Photo: International maritime Organisation (IMO)
Outgoing Director of the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), Professor David Joseph Attard and Chancellor of the University of Malta has been selected by the International Marine Organisation (IMO) Council to be the recipient of the International Maritime Prize for 2021. Professor Attard was nominated for the prestigious award by the Republic of Malta.
The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organisation, judged to have made a significant contribution to the work and objectives of the Organisation. It consists of a sculpture in the form of a dolphin and includes a financial award, upon submission of an academic paper written on a subject relevant to IMO. The Prize will be presented to Professor Attard at the awards ceremony.
In the nomination, the impact that Professor Attard has had on the maritime world, particularly via his three decade-long role at the international Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) was highlighted. The Maltese national was responsible for proposing, in 1987, together with the late Dr Joseph Fenech, former Maltese Parliamentary Secretary and Minister, the establishment of IMLI to then IMO Secretary-General C.P. Srivastava. During his tenure with the institute, Professor Attard has overseen the training of more than 1,000 maritime professionals from more than 150 States – many of whom have gone on to represent their countries as delegates to the various IMO bodies. This has contributed to capacity building in many regions and supported IMO's goals of promoting safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping through cooperation.
Professor Attard is also President of the Chamber for Marine Environment Disputes and is a judge for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He served as Special Adviser to IMO Secretary-General C.P. Srivastava, who was overseeing the development of a substantial international maritime legal framework to ensure safer shipping on cleaner oceans. In response to reported difficulties by many States in incorporating IMO instruments into national legislation due to a lack of local expertise in the field of international maritime law, Professor Attard proposed the establishment of the IMLI in Malta. The Institute was set up in 1988.
Initially serving as an advisor to the founding Director and an active teacher who crafted the Institute's first syllabus, Attard became a Member of the IMLI Governing Board in 1989. He was appointed Director of the Institute in 1992. The work of the Institute, with Professor Attard at the helm, has been recognised by various international bodies including the IMO Assembly, IMO's Technical Cooperation Committee and the United Nations General Assembly.
Professor Attard currently serves as President of the Chamber for Marine Environment Disputes (since October 2020) and is a judge for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea since 2011, having been Vice-President of the Tribunal (2017-2020). He has helped to establish a close cooperation between IMLI and the World Maritime University, another global training institution established by IMO.