According to the Maritime Anti-Corruption Networks, there have been more than 28,000 incidents of corruption reported since 2011.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to address maritime corruption.
The decision for the IMO Facilitation Committee to include an anti-corruption agenda came in response to a submission from Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway, United Kingdom, United States and Vanuatu. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) co-sponsored the submission to the committee along with a number of other nongovernmental organizations.
“Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract,” said Guy Platten (pictured above), ICS secretary general. “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.”
According to the Maritime Anti-Corruption Networks anonymous reporting mechanism, which was set up in 2011, there have been more than 28,000 incidents already reported.
Addressing the IMO Facilitation Committee, Chris Oliver, the ICS director of regulatory affairs, said, “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.
“In addition to the potential consequences for shipowners and seafarers, it should not be underestimated the impact it can have on trade, investment, social and economic development of ports, local communities and even member states themselves,” Oliver said.
It is hoped that having the issue of maritime corruption included in the work of the Facilitation Committee, particularly in the context of the review and revision of the annex to the FAL Convention, will result in the development of IMO guidelines or an inclusive IMO code of best practice to implement and embrace anti-corruption practices and procedures, according to a press release from the ICS.
Any such action would align 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 has 186 parties, the ICS said.
The agreement of the IMO to include the anti-corruption agenda in its work program follows a submission made to the 42nd meeting of the IMO Facilitation Committee in June by ICS and a group of nongovernmental organizations asking for the issue to be addressed by member states.
“The industry is acutely aware of the problem and wants to work with member states to ensure that robust anti-corruption guidelines are put in place,” Platten said.