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Maritime Industry Backs IMO Plans to Tackle Corruption

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has welcomed the decision by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to address maritime corruption. 

The decision to include an anti-corruption agenda in its work programme came at the latest meeting of the IMO’s Facilitation Committee (FAL) in response to a submission from Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway, United Kingdom, United States and Vanuatu. ICS co-sponsored the submission along with a number of other non-governmental organisations (NGOs). ICS is the principal international trade association for the shipping industry, representing ship owners and operators in all sectors and trades.

Tackling a Global Issue

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping said: '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.' 

28,000 Incidents Reported Since 2011

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

Far Reaching Consequences

Addressing the IMO’s Facilitation Committee the Director of Regulatory Affairs at ICS, Chris Oliver, 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 ship owner and can have an impact on seafarers’ well-being.'

'In addition to the potential consequences for ship owners 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.'

IMO Guidelines or Code of Best Practice

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.

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.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.

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