International Lifeboat Federation receives International Maritime Prize for 1998

The International Lifeboat Federation (ILF) was today (29 September 1999) presented with the International Maritime Prize for 1998 by Mr. William A. O’Neil, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization.

The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by the Organization to the individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of IMO.

The prize was received on behalf of the ILF by Mr. Andrew Freemantle, MBE, Director, Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Mr. O’Neil said: "Each year, thousands of people around the world owe their lives to the International Lifeboat Federation, due to the efforts of its Member organizations, be they voluntary or State-administered. The International Maritime Prize is recognition of the ILF’s work in contributing to safety at sea, one of the main objectives of the International Maritime Organization.

"The prize also honours the ILF’s contribution to the work of IMO. The ILF was granted consultative status with IMO in 1985, which means it provides technical expertise relating to subject matters close to its work – one example being its input on the technical specifications of lifeboats and life-saving appliances in relation to IMO’s International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS 1974).

"The ILF has also played a prominent role over the years in helping to develop IMO’s global Search and Rescue Plan, following the adoption of the 1979 SAR Convention. Although areas of the world are now covered by at least provisional SAR plans, much remains to be done in ensuring that the plans are properly implemented. The work of the ILF, therefore, is far from finished and IMO looks forward to continued close co-operation in the years ahead."


The International Lifeboat Federation

The International Lifeboat Federation has 57 members in 44 countries and was granted consultative status with IMO in 1985. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in the United Kingdom provides a permanent secretariat for the Federation and represents the ILF at IMO meetings. The ILF was nominated for the award by the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada.

In 1824 the RNLI was the first national lifeboat service to be established. Two lifeboat organizations were established in the Netherlands in the same year and others were established in other European countries shortly afterwards. Voluntary organizations have been set up in numerous countries since then.

The ILF was formed in 1924 and celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, while the RNLI is celebrating its 175th anniversary Many members of the ILF are voluntary organizations which rely for their funds on donations from the public. Others are state administered.

However they are organized and funded, the members of the ILF have saved thousands of lives. The German Sea Rescue Service, which has been in existence for 130 years, has rescued 62,000 lives in that time while in the United Kingdom and Ireland it is estimated that the RNLI saves 1,300 lives every year.