The Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, Mr. Kitack Lim has presented an award of honour to Dr. Kofi Mbiah for distinguished service to the International Maritime Organization for nearly two decades.
In a speech to mark the closing ceremony of the 104th Session of the Legal Committee, one of the main committees through which the IMO carries out its work, the Secretary General paid glowing tribute to Dr. Mbiah and recalled his contributions as a delegate to the Legal Committee several years ago.
He said, his contributions during debates in the Legal Committee depicted him as an astute legal luminary well versed in international maritime law.
Mr. Lim said before Dr. Mbiah was elected to the position of chairman of the Committee, he had made significant contributions to the work of IMO.
He referred in particular to Dr. Mbiah’s work as Chairman of the Drafting Committee at the Diplomatic conference for adoption of the 2002 Protocol to the Athens Convention on the carriage of Passengers and their luggage by sea.
He noted that Dr. Mbiah was also chairman of the Drafting Committee at the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by sea.
The Secretary General of IMO also indicated that amongst others, Dr. Mbiah served as one of the Vice Presidents at the Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007, and was chairman of Committee One at the 29th IMO Assembly.
He said Dr. Mbiah’s work span several years in which he has made significant contribution to the work of IMO.
Commenting on his role as Chairman of the Legal Committee from 2010 to 2017, the Secretary General said: “I truly enjoy observing how you “operate” this podium; undeterred by even the most complex of legal issues, always giving everyone a fair hearing, and passionate to find a common ground even if the Committee is completely divided”
He also mentioned that Dr. Mbiah chaired the meetings of the Committee with dexterity and efficiency providing humour sometimes in very intractable debates.
Mr. Lim noted that during the chairmanship of Dr. Mbiah, “he worked tirelessly to facilitate the effective implementation of IMO’s Conventions emanating from the Legal Committee, and, as a matter of fact, the Athens Protocol entered into force in 2014 and the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention entered into force in 2015, and the HNS Convention notably received, last week, its first ratification”.
The Secretary General traced Dr. Mbiah’s academic path noting that having obtained a Masters in Marine Management and a Masters in Business Management he studied for a Master of Laws at the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) where he graduated with distinction, and obtained a PhD in Maritime Administration form the World Maritime University (WMU).
According to Mr. Lim, the fact that Dr. Mbiah studied at IMLI and WMU – both academic institutions owned by the IMO, makes him a real child of IMO.
“Beside his outstanding academic credentials and sterling career, Kofi strikes me as a very kind, approachable and generous person possessing a great sense of humour and charm, not to mention his power of persuasion, probably typical of a lawyer” Mr. Lim added.
Concluding his brief address, Mr. Lim noted “We in the Secretariat have very much enjoyed working with you and we have benefitted from your outstanding leadership, always accompanied by a great sense of humour. You will be greatly missed”
By: Gabriel Mauricio