Joseph’s Success To Benefit Fiji

Mavis Joseph, a Legal, Risks and Audit Officer with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has successfully attained a Degree of Masters of Law (LLM) in International Maritime Law
26 Aug 2015 08:56
Joseph’s Success To Benefit Fiji
Mavis Joseph (second from left), with fellow colleagues and graduates.

Mavis Joseph, a Legal, Risks and Audit Officer with the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) has successfully attained a Degree of Masters of Law (LLM) in International Maritime Law at the International Maritime Organisation – International Maritime Law Institute (IMO-IMLI).

Ms Joseph was awarded a scholarship out of the 11 scholarships provided by The Nippon Foundation and was the only representative from the Pacific. During the academic year (2014 to 2015), there were 33 lawyers from 27 countries (Bahamas, Bahrain, China, Dominion Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Greece, Fiji, India, Italy, Jamaica, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam) who pursued and successfully completed the LLM programme.  Out of the 33 lawyers, 11 were women.

“The programme was tough, it was a challenging but rewarding experience.

Apart from the robust group of lawyers in the programme, we also had the cream of the crop with renowned lecturers, professors and experts in international maritime law.  I must thank the former MSAF board and chairman, Nigel Skeggs, the permanent secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Commander Francis Kean, the former chief executive officer –Neale Slack for nominating me for this programme and the letters of support from Mr. Isei Tudreu, former controller ground safety of the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji and now general manager for Air Traffic Management and Aviation Training, Airports Fiji Limited and John Tunidau, manager standards and compliance and now acting chief executive officer for the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji.

My special gratitude to Isei Tudreu for being my academic guide in my professional career and who has maneuvered my interest in aviation and maritime law and inspiring me to always look at the bigger picture, to always take the good out of any given situation.

Finally, to my friends and family, my mum, only sister Bianca, younger brother Sylvesterand my fiancé, Joeli Logavatu for the faith, continuous words of encouragement and support”, stated Ms Joseph.

Ms Joseph wrote her dissertation on Climate Change and its Implications for the resettlement of Small Island States: A Case Study on the Republic of Fiji and the Republic of Kiribati. Climate change is a serious concern in the South Pacific. Despite global initiatives to reduce the effect of climate change, the international community has to consider realistic legal solutions to deal with the emerging issue of resettlement of any State.

Such a study is important in order to highlight the need to change international convention (s) to address this emerging issue.

In addition, this would also prepare a State in understanding and appreciating the maritime legal implications of allowing the resettlement of another State.

The research approach adopted in the dissertation included extensive study of relevant literature and an analysis of the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States 1933, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992 and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969.

The findings from the research evidenced that the effects of climate change can accelerate and climate change poses a serious threat to the viability of Small Island States.

In addition, when analysing the provisions of UNCLOS, it was assumed that when UNCLOS was negotiated and adopted in 1982, State parties did not factor in the possible effect climate change would have on the baseline and consequently, the maritime zones of a State.

The main conclusions drawn from this study is the possibility for the Republic of Kiribati to resettle on Rabi Island in the Republic of Fiji, provided the parties agree.

In addition, Article 62 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969 is a very powerful provision.

It could be used to refute the argument that a State loses its maritime zones due to the rise in sea level. In addition, protecting the purity and sacredness of the maritime delimitation agreements that are signed between States establishing the maritime boundaries and also to a large extent, protects the inviolability of UNCLOS.

The dissertation recommended that Article 121 of UNCLOS be amended for avoidance of any doubt, to provide an exception provision, which would enable a State to maintain its maritime zones.

Ms Joseph added,“ When receiving my Degree of LLM, I couldn’t help but think of my father (God rest his soul), I know he would have been extremely proud and if there is one wish that I could have, it would be that he was here to share this achievement.

However, I am forever grateful and indeed blessed for how he and my mother nurtured my siblings and I to always do our best, with honesty and integrity.

All the sleepless nights and sacrifices during the programme were worth it. The added and surprise bonus was receiving the Professor Walter Miller Prize for the Best Maritime Legislation Drafting Project.”

Ms. Joseph drafted the Maritime (Bunker) Regulations 2015 based on the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 and taking into consideration the other international conventions and the domestic legislation already in place in Fiji.

Acting CEO, John Tunidau stated that the State is undergoing major legislative reforms with the transition of the regulatory services from a government department to a statutory authority – MSAF.

There is a positive shift by the State towards complying with its international obligations.

The State needs expertise in maritime law to bridge the gap that we are facing in terms of being aware and understanding the State’s obligations to IMO, being aware and understanding the IMO Co nventions and Protocols, and then implementing the same domestically.

Mr Tunidau also stated that Fiji is in a strategic position within the South Pacific, and this opportunity would also enable policy and legislative drafting assistance to our pacific neighbours should this be required.

He added that MSAF gives high priority to the training of its individual staff in specialiSed position such as Aids to Navigation Manager Training, class 1 and 2 Engineers and Masters training, to ensure that MSAF establishes and maintains a pool of highly trained and skilled officers that will improve the delivery of its core functions.


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