Captain David J.F. Bruce, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and Senior Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, RMI Maritime Administrator passed away on Friday, 29 September 2023.
He was a loving husband to Alison for 53 years, father to Gwendoline, and grandfather to Alison and Alexander. Captain Bruce had a storied career and connection with the sea, first going to work at sea in 1957 after his studies at Melville College in Edinburgh, Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow, and the Nautical College in Pangbourne.
He served as a commissioned officer in the Royal Naval Reserve which included service afloat on the HMS Ark Royal. He had also been employed at sea with Cayzer Irvine & Co. Ltd. and Canadian Pacific Steamships Ltd. where he rose to be Master before taking up shore employment with the Milford Haven Port Authority.
Captain Bruce held a United Kingdom Master Mariner Certificate of Competency and was a member of the Royal Institute of Navigation, the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, and was a Fellow of the Nautical Institute. His experience at sea included general and refrigerated cargo, heavy lift/bulk cargo, container vessels, forest product carriers, and passenger ships.
He worked with marine administrations and ship registries since 1972. Captain Bruce was employed by Liberian Services Ltd. from 1972 to 1991, serving in the positions of Senior Nautical Inspector, Officer-in-Charge, and Chief of Marine Inspections, Division II, first with Liberian Services and then for a period as Chief Marine Surveyor for the Isle of Man Government. In 1994, he was appointed as Managing Director of the London office of International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI), which at the time provided administrative and technical support to both the RMI and Liberian Registries, responsible for safety inspections and vessel registrations. In the year 2000, IRI solely provided administrative and technical support to the RMI Registry and Captain Bruce maintained his position as Managing Director of the London office until the year 2002 at which time he became the Permanent Representative to the IMO for the RMI.
Captain Bruce’s involvement with the IMO spanned nearly 50 years. He served as an advisor to the Liberian IMO delegation supporting the work of numerous sessions of the IMO Committees and Sub-committees. He was with the RMI delegation to the IMO since it became a Member State in 1996, and was retained as Senior Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs and the Permanent Representative of the RMI to the IMO in 2002. In these roles, Captain Bruce was involved in varying degrees with nearly every initiative and standard developed under the auspices of IMO concerning the safety, security, and environmental performance of international shipping. He also contributed to the work of other related organizations, having chaired the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPCF) 1972 fund and the International Mobile Satellite Organization (IMSO) Advisory Committee, to name a few.
In these capacities, Captain Bruce guided the RMI delegation to the IMO with his expertise and insightful wisdom, always being mindful of the many perspectives on matters under discussion and the goal of developing meaningful standards. Above all else, he was motivated by the spirit of a true seafarer in his heart.
“Captain Bruce was an able leader, a kind and knowledgeable mentor, and truly represented the overall objectives of the IMO. His contributions, dedication, and service to the IMO and IRI over the decades will have a lasting impact on our company, seafarers at sea, and ships trading internationally,” said Bill Gallagher, President, IRI. “His passing is a great loss to our industry for in the spirit of cooperation, he tirelessly aspired to bring smart regulation to the evolving regulatory regime at the IMO,” he concluded.