Recently, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agreed to include maritime corruption as a regular work item on its agenda. The IMO will now work on a Guidance document to address maritime corruption. This is expected to be completed by 2021.
A paper on the topic of maritime corruption was presented by the Marshall Islands with many countries and international organizations expressing their endorsement of a proposal to develop guidelines to assist all stakeholders in embracing and implementing anti-corruption practices and procedures at the 43rd meeting of the Facilitation Committee (FAL).
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) applauds the efforts the IMO has taken to address maritime corruption as a regular work item. MACN’s Director, Cecilia Müller Torbrand, says, “It is important for the industry to have maritime corruption recognized as a problem by the IMO in its role as the international regulator for shipping.
“Issues such as the wide discretionary powers held by some port officials have the potential to impact all ship owners, managers, and operators.
“The requirements for port entry too often lack transparency, are deliberately misapplied, or widely interpreted for private gain.”
In 2018, MACN, together with leading maritime associations, started to engage the IMO on the consequences and risks facing the maritime industry in relation to maritime corruption.
An IMO submission was sponsored by 12 NGO’s and submitted to the IMO’s Facilitation Committee in June 2018 (FAL 42/16/3). The submission was supported by a presentation to IMO delegates from MACN and International Chamber of Shipping.
Maritime corruption has far-reaching consequences, it is detrimental to shipping operations and port communities, can have damaging effects on trade and investment, which in turn can have a negative effect on social and economic development.