According to the Maritime Anti-Corruption Networks anonymous reporting mechanism, which was established in 2011, there have been more than 28,000 incidents already reported, confirming that this is a widespread issue.

Speaking on the IMO’s Facilitation Committee the Director of Regulatory Affairs at the International Chamber of Shipping, Chris Oliver, said that:

We are all aware that corruption in the maritime sector exists in many areas and as we have heard from the document introduction, corrupt practices, particularly with respect to the ship/shore interface, can lead to interruptions to normal operations, can incur higher operational costs for the shipowner and can have an impact on seafarers’ well-being

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He also added that corruption can have significant impact on trade, investment, social and economic development of ports, local communities and even Member States themselves.

Now, the hope is that having the issue of maritime corruption included in the work of the Facilitation Committee, especially in the context of the review and revision of the Annex to the FAL Convention, will lead to the development of IMO guidelines or an inclusive IMO Code of Best Practice to implement and adopt anti-corruption practices and procedures.

However, any such action must comply with IMO regulations and requirements for the maritime industry with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), adopted in 2003, which entered into force in 2005, and which currently consists of 186 Parties.

The agreement of the IMO to include the anti-corruption agenda in its work programme comes after a submission made to the 42nd meeting of the IMO Facilitation Committee in June 2018 by the ICS and a group of NGO’s asking for the issue to be addressed by member states.

Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. Corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs. This is a global issue but we all need to work to eradicate corrupt practices. We are pleased that the IMO will be working to address this important issue and we will support the member states in stamping out this scourge

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, stated, adding that the shipping industry is fully aware of this problems and wants to adopt solid anti-corruption guidelines.

MACN: A Significant Anti-Corruption Initiative

MACN has also established an initiative in 2011, as an industry-led collective action initiative, to stamp out corruption in the maritime industry and to promote inclusive trade. Having now grown to over 90 companies across the maritime industry, MACN’s members represent a significant percentage of the total global tonnage and play a key role in ocean transport.