President, John Witte
Mr Witte is President/CEO at DONJON Marine, co., Inc. of Hillside, New Jersey, USA. He has worked for Donjon since 1982, starting in its marine salvage activities. Over his forty-plus years of service with Donjon Marine, Mr Witte has participated in, and ultimately directed, virtually all of Donjon’s present marine and related activities. He has day-to-day operational and corporate oversight of all of Donjon Marine’s various businesses and operations. In addition, Mr Witte is also director, and provides oversight and guidance, to one of Donjon’s most recent Marine activities, Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair, a full-service repair and vessel new build facility located on Lake Erie in Erie, Pennsylvania. Mr Witte is a past President of the International Salvage Union (ISU) and is also a past President of the American Salvage Association (ASA).
Vice President, Captain Leendert Muller
Captain Leendert Muller is Managing Director of Multraship Towage & Salvage, a leading towage and salvage company headquartered in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, with branch offices in Bulgaria and Romania. The company’s core activities include harbour and terminal towage, salvage, sea towage and support to the offshore energy and dredging industries.
A seasoned maritime professional, Leendert is a certified Master Mariner and acting Senior Salvage Master who has dedicated nearly 40 years to the shipping industry, having started his career at sea in 1984, serving as a Captain on board Multraship tugs. After 12 years at the helm, Leendert moved into operational and commercial roles within the company before his appointment as Deputy Director of Multraship in 1998. Four years later, he assumed his current position as Managing Director of Multraship and its parent company Muller Maritime Group.
Leendert is actively involved in the towage and salvage community, having previously served as President of the ISU and as Chairman of the European Tugowners Association (ETA) and he continues to serve on the Executive Committees of both organisations. He is also a member of the Board of the Royal Dutch Shipowners Association (KVNR) and the Dutch Transport Law Association (NVV).
Leendert continues the legacy of the Muller family, which has been engaged in the shipping industry for more than 230 years, specialising in towage and salvage since 1911.
Secretary General, James Herbert
James Herbert started his career as a British Army officer before training as journalist at the BBC where he worked for number of years. He moved to the Shell Group and rose to be head of Group media relations where he handled numerous shipping incidents and drills. After a period as a senior civil servant in the UK, James set up his own communications consultancy with a specialty in maritime PR and marine casualty management. He has responded to more than 400 incidents and issues and is a published author on communications in marine casualty. James was the ISU communications adviser for 14 years, supporting the three previous Secretary Generals and he will combine that role with ISU communications.
Richard Gunn, Legal Adviser
Mr Gunn is global head of marine casualty at international law firm, Reed Smith. He is a qualified master mariner and served in the merchant navy for 12 years on a variety of vessels before coming ashore to work in shipping operations. He then trained as an English solicitor and qualified in 1996.
Mr Gunn has been involved in numerous casualty cases, particularly collisions, groundings, explosion and salvage and related contractual disputes. As well as acting for salvors, owners and underwriters, he also acts for various owners and Clubs in Charterparty disputes, focusing on those of a technical nature such as unsafe port, P&I claims and GA disputes.
Mr Gunn’s work has involved complex containership casualties, logistics, bunker disputes and speed and performance issues and yachts. He has undertaken reviews of various contracts relating to provision of Port Services, STS and Emergency Towage Services, Wreck Removal, Towhire and Towcon, Supplytime and de-commissioning and he was the Admiralty Solicitors Group representative on the Lloyds Salvage Group and the sub-Committee drafting the revised LOF 2020.