International Maritime Prize for 2004 presented to Mr. Luis Martínez (Mexico)

Left to right: Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos presents the 2004 International Maritime Prize to Mr. Luis MartínezThe prestigious International Maritime Prize for 2004 has been presented to Mr. Luis Martínez of Mexico, who has spent a lifetime in high profile positions in the maritime sector and is currently a fishing vessel owner.

Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, presented the prize to Mr. Martínez during a special ceremony (on Thursday, 17 November) at IMO's London Headquarters during the Organization's 23rd Extraordinary Council session, which precedes the Organization's 24th Assembly, to be held from 21 November to 2 December.

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 IMO. The 94th session of the IMO Council in June took the decision to award the prize to Mr. Martínez in recognition of his long service to the cause of maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment.

The prize-giving ceremony was also attended by His Excellency Mr. Juan José Bremer CVO, Ambassador of Mexico in London; Mr. Tomas Lozano y Pardinas, Director General of the Merchant Marine of Mexico; Mr. Martínez' wife and family, as well as by delegations to the IMO Council and IMO staff.

Agreement of Co-operation with Mexico
Following the prize giving, the Director-General of the Merchant Marine of Mexico, Mr. Tomas Lozano y Pardinas, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Directorate-General for the Merchant Marine (DGMM) of the Ministry of Communications and Transport, United Mexican States, and the International Maritime Organization, the objective of which is to formalize the close co-operation that exists between the Parties in the performance of technical assistance activities for Latin American countries, within the Organization's field of competence.

Presentation of a model offshore storage unit
Also during the occasion, the Ambassador of Mexico, Mr. Bremer, presented a model offshore storage unit to the IMO Secretary-General, on behalf of the Government of Mexico.

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Mr. Luis Martínez
Mr. Luis Martínez, Winner of the 2004 International Maritime Prize with IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos
Mr. Martínez has spent a lifetime in high-profile positions contributing in the maritime sector and is currently a fishing vessel owner.

The professional career of Mr Luis Martinez has been spent in various maritime pursuits: merchant seafarer, general adviser and valuation expert in the fishing industry and boatbuilding. He has also been an inspector for classification societies, including Bureau Veritas and Det Norske Veritas. Mr. Martínez has worked as a private shipping agent in Mexico and Panama, as a customs agent and as an adviser on maritime safety and evaluation.

Over the years, his innovative mind has led to his registering patents on a number of inventions. He has a passion for technology and is currently designing a wastewater treatment process known as the "homothalassic process", in which the oceans are protected by the use of the seawater itself as a re-agent.

His involvement with the maritime industry began with his service as an officer and chief engineer on Mexican ships from 1952 to 1957. He then broadened his experience by becoming chief maintenance and service engineer at a chemical plant producing fertilizers, before becoming management consultant to the National Co-operative Development Bank, with responsibility for formulating and evaluating projects for submission to the President's Office. Later he was involved in the design and construction of various types of industrial plants and fishing vessels.

He has travelled extensively throughout Europe, America and Asia for work and study purposes relating to sea fishing, marketing and research. He has lectured at numerous meetings, drawing on his career as a merchant seafarer, on ecological and other matters of a commercial or political nature. He has lectured on marine and environmental matters at five universities, as well as serving as director of an oceanographic research programme in the Mexican Pacific, concerned with the potential of bathypelagic and deep-sea species.

Five years ago, in co-operation with Greenpeace and the Oaxaca State Nature Conservation Board, he was co-organizer of a meeting on the theme "Let's save the Papaloapan Basin", which attracted speakers from all over Mexico. He is Professor for postgraduate courses at the Fernando Siliceo Merchant Navy Academy in Veracruz port, and for courses concerned with classification society inspector qualifications.

Mr. Martínez is currently an adviser to the Mexican Senate on maritime affairs, ecology and legislative research. He is a member, director and former president of the Veracruz College of Merchant Seafarers; and he is also President of the National Maritime Alliance and of the "Vida Plena, Ecología Controlada" group standing for "Full life, controlled ecology".

In his wide range of interests outside the maritime sphere, he serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Union of Co-operative Societies for Diverse Occupations in the State of Veracruz Llave and as a member of the supervisory board of the National Confederation of Co operative Societies for Diverse Occupations.

He is a columnist for the "Excélsior" national daily newspaper and for the "Milenio El Portal" regional daily newspaper. He works closely with Greenpeace Mexico and is an adviser to the Indigenous Council of Uxpanapa.

IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

International Maritime Prize
The International Maritime Prize consists of a sculpture in the form of a dolphin and includes a financial award. The winner of the annual prize is also invited to write a paper on a theme relating to the work of IMO. The paper is published in IMO's quarterly magazine, IMO News.

Previous winners
Winners of the prize since 2000:

  2004 - Mr. Luis Martínez (Mexico)
  2003 - Mr William O'Neil (Canada)
  2002 - Mr. Frank Wall (United Kingdom)
  2001 - Mr. Giuliano Pattofatto (Italy) (posthumously)
  2000 - Mr. Heikki Juhani Valkonen (Finland)

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