International Maritime Prize for 2017 to go to Birgit Sølling Olsen

The prestigious International Maritime Prize for 2017 is to be awarded to Birgit Sølling Olsen, former Deputy Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council, meeting for its 120th session in London (2nd to 5th July) voted to award the Prize to Mrs Sølling Olsen in recognition of her invaluable contribution to the work and objectives of IMO and to the international maritime community as a whole.

Mrs Sølling Olsen was nominated by Denmark as well as the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Associations (P & I Clubs).

In their nomination, the Kingdom of Denmark highlighted Mrs Sølling Olsen’s distinguished career in the maritime field and acknowledged her significant contribution to the objectives of IMO. Her comprehensive knowledge of maritime law was combined with an understanding of the business aspects and growth potential of the maritime industry.

Denmark emphasised Mrs Sølling Olsen’s focus on international solutions as a member of the Danish delegation during deliberations at IMO, in particular during negotiations related to the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds; the development of international guidelines to combat piracy; and the development and adoption of the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention, 2007. Mrs Sølling Olsen also worked tirelessly to ensure seafarer issues were addressed, both at IMO and at the International Labour Organization, including seafarer training and education, working conditions and personal safety.

A law graduate with a Masters in Law from the University of Copenhagen, Mrs Sølling Olsen started her maritime career as a legal adviser to the Danish Register of Shipping. She moved to the Danish Ministry of Industry (which then included maritime affairs in its responsibilities) in 1988, becoming Director of International Shipping Policy and Maritime Law Merchant Law at the Ministry of Industry in 1995. In 1996, Mrs Sølling Olsen became Director for Shipping Policy at the Danish Maritime Authority and from 2003 until her retirement in 2017, she held the post of Deputy Director-General of the Danish Maritime Authority.

The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organisation judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the Organisation. It consists of a sculpture in the form of a dolphin and includes a financial award, upon submission of an academic paper written on a subject relevant to IMO.

The Prize will be presented to Mrs Sølling Olsen during the annual IMO Awards ceremony, which this year will be held on 6th December, during the 100th session of IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC).