Dr. Thomas A. Mensah of Ghana, former President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has been awarded the prestigious International Maritime Prize, for his significant contribution to the work of IMO.
IMO Secretary-General Mr. Koji Sekimizu presented the award, a sculpture in the form of a dolphin, to Dr. Mensah, during a special ceremony at IMO Headquarters (on Thursday, 21 November 2013) at the end of the first day of the 27th extraordinary session of the IMO Council.
Dr. Mensah was nominated for the prize by the Government of Ghana and has been recognized for his contribution to the aims and objectives of IMO throughout a distinguished career in international maritime affairs, over many years, as a specialist in public international law, the law of treaties, shipping law, the international law of the sea and international environmental law.
The nomination highlighted Dr. Mensah’s long career at IMO (initially as head of the Organization’s newly-formed Legal Affairs Division and then as Assistant Secretary-General) followed by his appointment as a Judge at the newly-established International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) , from 1996 to 2005. He was also elected as the first President of the Tribunal, from 1996 to 1999.
Dr. Mensah and the Honourable Mrs. Dzifa Attivor, Minister for Transport of the Republic of Ghana, also addressed the audience at the ceremony. The High Commissioner for Ghana, His Excellency Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo also attended the ceremony.
International Maritime Prize
The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization. It consists of a sculpture and includes a financial award, upon submission of a paper written on a subject relevant to IMO.
Biography of Dr. Thomas A. Mensah
Dr Thomas A. Mensah was born and raised in Ghana. He graduated from the University of Ghana and then studied abroad, first taking law at the University of London, graduating in 1959, and then, in 1961, he joined Yale University Law School, United States, obtaining a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in 1962 and a Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) title in 1964.
Dr. Mensah then embarked on a truly international legal career, first working as Associate Legal Officer, at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna from 1965 to 1966 before joining the IMO Secretariat, in London, in 1968, as Director of the Legal Office. In 1981, he was designated Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the expanded Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, IMO, posts which he held until 1990. He was also a visiting Professor of the World Maritime University (WMU), in Malmö, Sweden, from 1981 to 1990.
On leaving IMO, Dr. Mensah became Special Advisor on Environmental Law and Institutions, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, from 1991 to 1992. He was Cleveringa Professor of Law, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, from 1993 to 1994 and Professor and Director, Law of the Sea Institute, University of Hawaii, from 1993 to 1995.
Dr. Mensah was then appointed as the first High Commissioner of Ghana to the Republic of South Africa, from 1995 to 1996.
In 1996 he was appointed the first President of ITLOS, and continued to serve as an ITLOS Judge from 1999 to 2005.
He has been a Member of the Institut de Droit International since 1989, a Titular Member of the Comité Maritime International, a Member of the Advisory Council of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and a Member of the Standing Committee on Maritime Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.
Dr. Mensah has published numerous articles, monographs and papers in the field of public international law, law of the sea, maritime law and international environmental law.