Recent incidents and developments are demonstrating the increasing vulnerability of global shipping to proxy wars and disputes.

Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Ian Borg expressed this concern as he was addressing the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI)’s 35th anniversary international conference in Valletta, on Monday afternoon.

Between November 2023, and the beginning of April 2024, there were more than 50 attacks against merchant shipping in the Red Sea, which also included the first fatal attack. Commercial shipping is also becoming increasingly threatened by drone attacks and a rise in maritime piracy.

“One of the biggest concerns of these threats is the safety and wellbeing of seafarers,” Minister Ian Borg said, as he reaffirmed the importance of working together to tackle these perils.

“We believe in the power of finding holistic solutions to challenges as well as to bring about positive transformations for a maritime industry that prioritises both environmental and human sustainability. We want shipping to prosper, to provide more and better employment and to drive innovation, so that it can serve a flexible, sustainable, and competitive economy,” he added.

Reflecting on the 35th anniversary of the establishment of IMLI, a joint collaboration between the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Government of Malta, Minister Ian Borg explained that this educational institution has established itself as the reference point for States to enhance their capacity building in the field of international maritime law by training generation after generation of practitioners and experts.

“This year, the IMO and IMLI have pushed the boundaries and have risen, once again, to the challenges of the maritime community. The success of IMO’s work towards decarbonising shipping by or around 2050 makes it the first UN agency and the first sector to define a global strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions. IMLI’s objective to promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals is equally admirable. The Institute, supported by The Nippon Foundation, undertook major research on the limitations of the current fragmented ocean governance regime to provide tangible solutions, for a more effective and sustainable oceans governance regime in the future,” the minister said.

“May IMLI continue in its mission to train officers from all around the world, for better governance of our seas,” Minister Borg concluded.

Featured Image:

Minister for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade Ian Borg / DOI Photo by Omar Camilleri

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