Many thanks to everyone who joined me and my co-authors, Charles Anderson and Jonathan Hare, in the Old Library at Lloyd’s on 7th March 2023 for the launch of the third edition of Shipping and the Environment.
We were delighted to see so many friends from different sectors of the international maritime community, and to have the chance of thanking those who have helped us in various ways.
The final product would not have been possible without the support of numerous individuals at the IMO, the IOPC Funds, ITOPF and the International Group of P&I Clubs, as well as in several other industry bodies and professional firms, all of whom gave generously of their time and expertise.
While the book’s acknowledgements explain the parts everyone played, special thanks go to the Skuld P&I Club – where Charles and Jonathan have both worked for many years – for generous support of the project and of the evening’s event.
The occasion was a chance to celebrate not just the publication of the book but also the things it is about, notably the work of many people – in industry, government, the professions and other walks of life – who have contributed to the law and practice that we try to describe.
With that in mind it gave great pleasure, especially to me and a number of erstwhile colleagues, that we were joined by our former senior partner Patrick Griggs. Patrick acted with his father Jack in the Torrey Canyon case in 1967 – the world’s first major oil spill – and in the 1970s he gave me the chance as a young lawyer to cut my teeth in this field.
Four years of intensive work on this edition served to highlight how much has changed and how much has been achieved. By many yardsticks ships are safer, and seas much cleaner, than just a few decades ago. The compensation regimes have also worked remarkably well. In the first oil spill case on which I worked with Patrick, the IOPC Fund had just a handful of member states and a small office in Piccadilly. Since then, the membership has grown to over 120 nations, and the system has served as a model which other regimes have followed.
This has happened only because these systems have been seen to succeed; and that is thanks above all to cooperation among those who have made them work. The relationships and goodwill that have grown through this are not only an agreeable part of the job, but will surely be as important as ever in times ahead.
A great joy I have taken from working in this field, as I retire from it after 45 years, is that its challenges have been far beyond the reach of any one person. The need to combine with others has led to many friendships, to the most important things I’ve learnt, and to results I could never have witnessed but for people whose skills I don’t have.
As my co-authors and I are all now at or near the end of our careers, we have been keen to pass on what we can to a growing number of people and organisations that are concerned with this subject, as well as students of maritime affairs from whose ranks will be drawn the industry figures, legal practitioners and regulators of the future. If what we have written helps them make contributions akin to those of others before us, an important purpose will have been fulfilled.
To all who continue these efforts I offer every good wish; and to all with whom I’ve enjoyed working so much, I will forever be grateful for the fine friendship and support they’ve given. Thank you all very much indeed.
For further details of the book see Publications.
For further details of the launch event see London Market Today.
Colin de la Rue