By Chevanev Charles
Congratulations are extended to Petty Officer Mr Dwight Lewis on graduating with distinction and honors with a degree in international maritime law from the International Maritime Law Institute. This United Nations institute, situated in Malta, just south of Italy, is in the top categories worldwide for maritime legal education. Mr Dwight Lewis graduated, winning the “Transport Malta” Prize for Best Performance in Shipping Law. As Malta is a leading flag state in maritime legal education, ship and super yacht registration, this is a distinct achievement and demonstrates the hard work, intellect and skill that Mr Lewis possesses.
Mr Dwight Lewis was awarded a scholarship funded by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on recommendation from the SVG Maritime Administration to undertake this Masters programme. Director Hyrone Johnson and his predecessor Cmdr. David Robin (who both attended the World Maritime University, Sweden) demonstrate a commitment to maritime education by recommending individuals to attend IMLI. SVG still has one of the biggest ship registries in the world with over 1500 yachts, cargo vessels and other ships flying its flag.
Mr Lewis’ lecturers, lawyers and academics from countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Sierra Leone, Algeria and Honduras, speak highly of Mr Lewis and his maritime expertise which is partially attributed to his practical knowledge and experience from the SVG Coast Guard.
The IMO Secretary General Mr Kitack Lim, in his annual address to the 2022 graduates stated “You have the privilege of being educated at IMLI – a center of excellence in international maritime law, the dissemination of knowledge and expertise in the field and a cornerstone of IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation programme.”
IMLI graduates are intended to assist countries with the incorporation of IMO Conventions. As of October 2022, SVG has incorporated 29 IMO Conventions.
This year the course held 56 maritime professionals, including Mr Lewis, from more than 25 different countries. This is a hallmark of international courses like IMLI that exposes the candidate to nationalities and cultures they would not otherwise encounter. This is also the nature of international trade and shipping.
All IMLI graduates are trained in maritime law as well as legislative drafting which is a significant part of this rigorous course. Previous graduates include Ms. Zhinga Horne-Edwards, a lawyer and maritime specialist who graduated in 1997 and Mr. Chevanev Charles a lawyer, legislative drafter and former legal officer for the Maritime Administration who graduated in 2016.
For maritime law education IMLI is highly recommended because:
1 – World Class Education – you are taught by the IMLI teaching staff and visiting lecturers from different international bodies like the United Nations (IMO) as well as universities including Oxford, leading universities in Germany, Sweden to name a few in comprehensive areas of maritime law and security.
2 – Network – IMLI is a school where all candidates represent their home countries, majority of candidates stay in touch after their course and are very useful in their professional roles as shipping law constantly involves other nationalities.
3 – Career advancement and applicable knowledge – Many IMLI graduates go on to represent their countries in international fora such as the IMO assembly, technical co-operation and legal committees. e.g. Head of IMO Legal Affairs, Prosecutor of International Criminal Court, Legal Officers in various Maritime Administrations.
It is noteworthy that Mr Lewis is among the last IMLI graduates to have been taught by Professor David Attard, a former lecturer at the University of Oxford and IMLI Director. Professor Attard’s career spans over 30 years, training over 1000 maritime professionals in more than 150 states and has turned IMLI into a world-wide center for academic excellence. He is currently the President of the Chamber for Marine Environment Disputes and a sitting judge on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea being Vice President (2017-2020). Professor Norman Martínez Gutiérrez, an extremely talented experienced maritime lawyer and academic has been selected as the new Director of IMLI in July 2022.
Mr Dwight Lewis has joined a unique network of maritime professionals and having completed a course at this level with an award during the COVID-19 Pandemic should be very proud of his achievement.
Individuals with a legal or maritime background who wish to undertake the LL.M international maritime law course are encouraged to seek more information at the SVG Maritime Administration or by calling 456-1378.
Mr Chevanev Charles is a practicing lawyer from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and an alumnus of the International Maritime Law Institute Malta who may be reached at [email protected].