International Maritime Organization IMO Director Speaks on Shipping & Environmental Law


Admiral Kenney with members of the USCG District 7 Legal

Frederick Kenney, Jr., the Director of Legal and External Affairs at the International Maritime Organization, London, was the keynote speaker at the Maritime Law Society’s spring semester speaker series, which was co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Society. Kenney presented a talk titled, “Environmental and Legal Issues at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for 2015”.

“The premise behind the event was to have Mr. Kenney, a distinguished and well-recognized professional in the international maritime law arena, discuss with law students the current legal and environmental issues at the IMO, and the outcomes of the recent Paris Climate Change Conference 2015”, said Danielle Gauer, President of the Maritime Law Society and candidate for LL.M. in Maritime Law.

The IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. The IMO’s main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is universally implemented to ensure ship operators will conduct business without compromising on safety, security and environmental performance.

Gauer explained that she had met Kenney last spring in Rhodes, Greece while attending a summer abroad program co-sponsored with the Aegean Institute of the Law of the Sea and Maritime Law. “I had kept in touch with Mr. Kenney since returning from Greece and wanted to find a way to have him share his insights with the students at Miami Law,” said Gauer.

In his capacity at the IMO, Kenney is responsible for advising the Secretary-General on all legal issues associated with the functioning of the Organization, with special emphasis on matters of treaty law and the law of the sea. He provides legal counsel to the Secretariat staff supporting IMO’s committees and subcommittees and has particular responsibility as Secretary for the Organization’s Legal Committee. He also oversees the Organization’s role as depositary for the 53 multilateral conventions adopted under the aegis of IMO, and oversees the operation of the IMO’s Public Information Service, its Maritime Knowledge Centre and External Relations Office.

Prior to coming to IMO, Kenney served as The Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel of the United States Coast Guard, attaining the rank of Rear Admiral. He was responsible for the delivery of all legal services to the USCG around the globe, with oversight of nearly 300 attorneys and 100 legal support personnel. He served as a Coast Guard judge advocate for 22 years of a thirty-three year military career, including service as the Coast Guard’s Chief of Maritime and International Law and a secondment to the US Department of State in the Office of Oceans Affairs.

Kenney was a member of the U.S. delegation to twelve different IMO committees and subcommittees and from 2009-2011, was the Head of the US Delegation to the IMO Legal Committee. He also served on several legal capacity-building missions in developing countries on behalf of the United States.

“With Kenney’s decades of work in the maritime field and years at the helm of the Coast Guard legal program, it's hard to imagine a more qualified person to advise and lead the IMO's cooperative efforts,” said Lieutenant Brian Sattler, a joint degree student who is working on his J.D. and LL.M. in Maritime Law.

The event was a success; it was attended not only by law students, but also by members of the United States Coast Guard District 7 Legal, professors, and local maritime attorneys.

"I believe Miami Law hit a home run with Admiral Kenny,” said Frank Sioli, a local maritime attorney at Sioli Alexander Pino.  “The opportunity to hear the latest on the IMO firsthand was invaluable, and the fact that he answered a number of questions, and took the time to engage socially at the conclusion, made it a truly special event.”

To watch Admiral Kenney’s talk, click here.