MACN CEO Cecilia Müller Torbrand guests on The Lloyd’s List Podcast

The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Shipping’s quiet corruption revolution

Despite its reputation for opaque business practice, the shipping industry has, over the past decade, been going through a quietly effective anti-corruption revolution. The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network now represents over 50% of the global fleet and commands serious leverage when tackling systemic corruption wherever it finds it. Joining the podcast this week is MACN’s chief executive Cecilia Müller Torbrand.

Read more here


MACN Board new members – Press release


Capt. Rajesh Unni (left) and Øistein Jensen Join the MACN Board

Press Release PDF

Capt. Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO Synergy Marine Group and Øistein Jensen, Chief Sustainability Officer at Odfjell SE have been elected to the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) Board of Directors.

Cecilia Muller Torbrand, CEO of the Network said, “Captain Unni and Mr. Jensen bring valuable operational and commercial insights to the Network’s leadership team, and I would like to thank both of them for their commitment to building the capacity and reach of our organisation.”

Founded in 2011 by a small group of committed maritime companies, MACN has now grown to include over 150 member companies holding 50% of the world’s shipping tonnage. In early 2021, MACN formally become an independent stand-alone organization.

Capt. Unni commented on his appointment: “The UN SDGs provide us with an important and compelling framework of targets that I believe can help us all build a more resilient and sustainable maritime industry. Fighting against corruption is central to those aims. It is a great honour to step up our work with MACN which brings together so many people and organisations committed to the common goal of ridding our industry of corruption.”

Øistein Jensen said “I have seen MACN grow into one of the world’s leading example of an industry-lead anti-corruption initiative. We have made substantial progress in an area many thought was impossible. I am really looking forward to MACN’s next chapter and the further progress we can make as a Network.”

John Sypnowich, MACN Chair, welcomed the new appointees: “Capt. Unni will bring the voice of ship managers into the Board. He is a champion of seafarer rights, a vocal supporter of shipping’s net-zero emissions ambition by 2050 and has a vast network in the industry.  Mr. Jensen’s professional focus on sustainability is an increasingly important part of our industry and he has a long-standing commitment to MACN. Both are recognized industry leaders and will serve the Membership well.”

On 5- 6 May, MACN held its largest Members meeting to date welcoming over 300 Member representatives, guest speakers and experts. During this meeting two Board members were also re-elected: Mr. Aaron Powell, BP Shipping and Kevin Leach-Smith, Taylor Maritime Ltd.

About MACN:
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) was established in 2011 by a small group of maritime companies committed to the vision of an industry free of corruption. It has grown to include over 150 companies globally and is recognized one of the pre-eminent examples of collective action to tackle corruption.

MACN and its members work towards the elimination of all forms of maritime corruption by raising awareness of the challenges faced, implementing the MACN Anti-Corruption Principles and co-developing and sharing best practices, and collaborating with governments, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to identify and mitigate the root causes of corruption; and creating a culture of integrity within the maritime community.

Capt. Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO Synergy Marine Group

Captain Unni commanded tankers before returning ashore to serve with distinction in senior executive ship management positions in Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2006 he launched his own vessel ownership and management company which now holds a diverse fleet of more than 400 vessels. Driven by a firm conviction that shipping must rapidly evolve from analogue to digital, Captain Unni is joint CEO of Alpha Ori Technologies (AOT) which he founded in 2017. Captain Unni is a Class 1 Master Mariner graduate from Mumbai’s LBS College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research and has completed the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.

Captain Unni sits on the boards of the North P&I Association and the Asia-Pacific Advisory Committee for major classification societies and is a Governor at the Indian Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli. He is a strategic thought partner with prominent changemaking network Ashoka. And he was recently nominated to the board of the Gandhigram Rural Institute, a university in Tamil Nadu which forms of part of Mahatma Gandhi’s progressive vision for provincial children’s education. Captain Unni is also a committed philanthropist. As well as being a trustee of the Cochin Cancer Society, he spearheads the Synergy Educational and Charitable Trust which focuses on alleviating poverty, eradicating hunger and empowering women and local communities in their efforts to build a better future.

Mr. Øistein Jensen, Chief Sustainability Officer at Odfjell SE

Mr. Jensen has been an active MACN Member representative for several years and Odfjell has been a Member since 2013.  Øistein is Chief Sustainability Officer at Odfjell SE.  In this role, Øistein has overall responsibility for sustainability, compliance, and strategic safety for the group. Øistein has been part of Executive Management in the group and was appointed to this role in August 2020 as a part of the company’s dedicated focus on sustainability.

Øistein is an executive with broad experience in naval leadership, management consulting, corporate governance, and shipping. Øistein was previously a director at PwC Management consulting for 10 years, working on strategy, ESG, and compliance. Øistein came to PwC from the Navy where he served as captain of a submarine and commander for the submarine command training.


MACN Welcomes 320 Participants at the Virtual Spring Members Meeting


MACN was delighted to welcome 320 participants to the annual Spring Members Meeting on May 5-6, 2021.

The meeting covered a mix of plenary sessions and working group activities on MACN’s tools, innovation streams, and Collective Action initiatives. The first day concluded with a General Assembly for all Members.

We also heard from expert MACN partners including Soji Apampa, The Convention on Business Integrity, Fernando Felipe Basch, Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi and Mr. Artem Serhiiovych Volkov, Head of Maritime Law Practice – Law Firm «ANK», attorney-at-law, arbitrator of UMAC under the Ukrainian CCI.

Thank you to all speakers, members and observers! 

Save the Dates for 2021

MACN Fall Meeting

October 6-7, 2021 (Virtual)

Reasons to work collectively to tackle corruption – International Anti-Corruption Day 9 Dec

By Cecilia Muller Torbrand, Executive Director, Maritime Anti-Corruption Network

Twenty years ago, a man was traveling down a coastline carrying a bag of cash and his job was to make sure shipping industry operations “worked smoothly.” Twenty years ago, foreign bribery was tax deductible, and the link between good governance and social economic development had not been fully recognized.

Twenty years later, it is recognized that corruption hampers trade, creates unfair opportunities, and numerous studies have shown that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) often suffer the most from corruption as they do not have the resources and capabilities to properly resist it.

The shipping industry’s attention is too often captured by new technology, and while there is no doubt this is part of our future, it provides for a convenient distraction over immediate challenges such as our ability to combat corruption and address the related risks that seafarers face daily:

“Port authorities threatened to delay the ship and fine us $60,000 for an error on the ships fuel declaration. Then he asked for $7,000 to help us have no problem.” Ship’s Captain

“Port authorities claimed to find cockroaches on board and threatened to fine the ship. For 10 cartons of cigarettes, we can make them go away.” Ship’s Captain

“Your passport visa and yellow fever vaccine certificate are not according to the rules and this is a fine of $ 10,000. Then he asked for $1000 to help us have no problem.” Ship’s Captain

With the inception of MACN ten years ago, the industry started to build capacity and around how to tackle the issue of corruption on an industry-wide collaborative basis, instead of working in silos. Fairly quickly, MACN found ways to get governments involved in finding constructive solutions. Today the industry can take pride in the practical and tangible tools MACN has developed to combat corruption and to demonstrate that it is possible to make progress through an inclusive model of engaging stakeholders through public private partnerships.

To support International Anti-Corruption Day, MACN is pleased to see the role senior leaders are playing to push for a corruption free ocean trade:

Kitack Lim, Secretary General, IMO: “The maritime industry is frequently exposed to the risk of corruption. Shipping is part of a vital multinational transport and logistics chain, delivering 11 billion tonnes of goods annually – including much-needed medicines and protective equipment during the pandemic. However, research has identified that seafarers may be subjected to corrupt demands, such as unlawful requests for payments to allow ships to enter and depart the port or disproportionate penalties applied for minor errors. This can lead to interruptions to normal operations, delaying ships and creating a risk to navigation and seafarer safety. The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network’s (MACN) anonymous reporting mechanism has collected close to 40,000 reports of corrupt demands globally.  This is most certainly a cause for concern.

 Why is it important for our industry to tackle corruption through collective action?

Soren Skou, CEO of A.P. Møller Mærsk A/S says: “Corruption is a global issue with significant impact on societies, economies, companies and individuals. We, at Maersk, and as a global logistics company, operating in many countries with high corruption exposure, play a significant role in shaping the agenda when it comes to fighting corruption. We initiated the “Say No to Corruption” campaign on our vessels in 2011. This led to the formation of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network with Maersk as a founding member. Now MACN has more than 140 members from across the maritime industry all taking on the challenge of fighting corruption.”

Bjoerge Grimholt, President & CEO at Wilhelmsen Ships Service says: “Lack of transparency fuels corruption and, as such, we need to be more transparent and share experiences through a network of like-minded organisations to have a remote chance at starting to tackle this serious issue. Together, as an alliance, we will increase the impact and credibility of any individual action. This will in turn level the playing field between competitors.”

 Capt Rajesh Unni, Founder and CEO of Synergy Marine Group: “Corruption consistently endangers the morals of the entire world and not just our industry alone. It is a cancer and is our rightful duty to challenge it both individually and collectively to create an impartial, safer, and brighter future for the generations ahead. If we do not take a stand against it now, we are invariably supporting it and we will most certainly continue to fall victim to its damaging effects. Because of its rampant spread and deep rooted history over centuries in most aspects of our daily lives, the fight against corruption cannot be an individual effort, but needs to be a collective and altruistic effort by everyone in our industry looking to make the world a safer place.”   

Corruption has been around since the first moment humans created organized societies around 5,000 years ago. However, we do not have unlimited time on our side and resilient change is needed. In MACN’s 2019 International Anti-Corruption Day blog, we asked if we are winning or losing the battle – so are we?

In many ways we believe we are on the right track:

IMO and governments worldwide are recognizing the issue of corruption and how it hinders international trade. IMO’s Facilitation Committee addresses the ship/port interface and is currently working to develop guidance to implement and embrace anti-bribery and anti-corruption practices and procedures to assist all stakeholders in that interface.

MACN represents 50% of the worlds tonnage thus our collective voice is strong when engaging in dialogue with governments. Companies are no longer working on their own and progress has been made with creating a level playing field.

Governments and the shipping industry are addressing these issues through collective action and public-private partnership – it is recognized that efforts on both sides are needed to fight corruption.

It is essential we back the seafarers who operate our ships 24/7– the industry needs to empower seafarers to stand their ground when saying ‘NO’, and governments need to support and, in turn, empower their staff to act with integrity.

Only together we can reduce trade obstacles and improve port operations, which will enable a safe working environment for the seafarers, and we can incarnate better access to global markets for local businesses.

Maritime Anti-Corruption Network Expands “Help Desk” Concept to Ukraine

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has expanded its anti-corruption ‘Help Desk’ concept to Ukraine’s ports and terminals. This development follows the successful implementation of similar Help Desks, operated in conjunction with local partners in Nigeria and Argentina.

The local Help Desk will support MACN member companies calling at ports and terminals when vessels and crew are faced with corrupt demands. The Help Desk will provide initial operational advice in relation to the situation, and provide a formal way of liaising with, and escalating cases to relevant local public authorities. MACN has entered into an agreement with local law firm ATTORNEY ASSOCIATION “ANK. MARITIME LAW PRACTICE”, to run this support function. You can find more about ANK Maritime Law Practice here.

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director of MACN said “The ‘Help Desk’ model has proven its effectiveness in Nigerian and Argentinian ports, and we believe there is great potential for a similar support structure in Ukraine. Fundamental to MACN’s collective action approach is that sustainable solutions to tackle corruption must be enabled by, supported by, and beneficial to key local stakeholders. Dialogue with stakeholders is, therefore, a critical part of MACN’s collective action projects. MACN’s local partners have played a key role in the engagement and dialogue with such key stakeholders. Our partnership with ANK aims to strengthen integrity in the ports and terminals of Ukraine by working with local and international stakeholders.”

MACN represents a large part of the maritime industry and keeps a close dialogue with its member companies to understand the challenges in the region. A recent survey conducted by MACN together with industry partners showed that Ukraine is perceived as a challenging country in the Black Sea region for port calls.  Despite, Ukraine’s recent efforts to tackle corruption and enforce a new maritime regulatory framework, challenges remain and the consequences of rejecting illicit demands can include long delays of vessels and the threat of fines for alleged non-compliance.

Vivek Menon, Head of Collective Action and Partnerships (EMEA) at Maritime Anti-Corruption Network said “The primary objective of the Help Desk and the  partnership with ANK  is to make it easier for a ship’s Master to reject and ‘Say No’ to corrupt demands when calling Ukraine. There is a strong demand from the industry to work collectively to develop tools, and to share best practice and lessons learned on how to reject demands in Ukraine. There is also an interest from the maritime industry to work in partnership with local authorities to tackle corruption in the maritime and port sector.”

Additionally, in coordination with the MACN Secretariat, ANK will support in local communication efforts and awareness raising about MACN’s collective action initiative, carry out an integrity risk assessment of port-related challenges, and assist in developing relevant Integrity Tools.

For further information contact:

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACN Executive Director

MACN and CBi Launch Help Desk to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Corruption in Cargo Clearance at Nigerian Ports and Terminals

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) have launched an anti-corruption HelpDesk to support business involved in cargo clearance at ports and terminals in Nigeria. The HelpDesk enables companies to demand, track, and ensure greater compliance with legal Standard Operating Procedures in Nigerian ports, and achieve more efficient cargo clearance. The initiative is relevant for any business using Nigerian Ports and Terminals including Freight Forwarders, Customs Brokers (Licensed Customs Agents), Port & Terminal agents, Importers of Goods and Commodities, Exporters of Goods and Commodities, Truck operators, Stevedoring companies, and Shipping Companies.

Through the HelpDesk, companies can report any cargo clearance issues. These reports will be assigned a trackable case number, allowing for monitoring of progress with a dedicated CBi Helpdesk Manager. CBi will help resolve the case through dialogue with relevant government authorities and other stakeholders.

“Having access to an effective escalation and feedback mechanism is key to improving accountability in the transport and logistics sector and supporting adherence to Standard Operating Procedures during cargo clearance, as well as for reporting and taking action on incidents of corruption. This new HelpDesk fills an urgent need for both business and government involved in cargo clearance” – Says Soji Apampa, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Convention on Business Integrity.

This system has been piloted by the Shipping Industry in Nigeria since 2019 with good results. Challenges that used to lead to days of delays have been resolved in hours. The HelpDesk has now been extended to also cover Cargo Clearance, using the same successful shipping industry model.

“MACN has developed, piloted, and deployed the help desk concept to prevent corruption in vessel clearance in Nigeria and other countries where MACN runs collective action initiatives. There is great interest from the industry in this tool and we have already seen how it helps companies conduct business with integrity and avoid costly delays. To replicate this concept in cargo clearance processes is a natural next step for MACN to address corruption across the extended transport and logistics supply chain.” – Says Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director of MACN

The HelpDesk will also generate reports and analytics that will assist government stakeholders (e.g. Shippers’ Council, Customs Service, and others involved in cargo clearance) to evaluate themselves on both internal and external regulatory controls.

To drive this initiative, plans are being put in place to form strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors. On the private sector side, there will be an Integrity Alliance Group, an initiative to bring together like-minded individuals in the Private sector who are passionate about driving efficiency in the Nigerian Ports. The membership would consist of players in the Transport and Logistics sector, which would include clearing and forwarding companies, Cargo companies, Freight forwarders, Logistic companies, and other related stakeholders.

The major purpose of the Group is to:

  • Monitor present reforms at Nigerian Ports and across the Maritime Industry generally in a bid to recommend changes that would improve Port efficiency and increase the use of the user experience diary.

  • Assist in the promotion of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), The Grievance Mechanism portal, and other reporting helplines to resolve issues and challenges faced by different stakeholders

For business operating in Nigeria, cargo clearance in ports is a high-risk process that is vulnerable to both corruption and delays. Through this new HelpDesk, MACN and CBi are working with business to voice their compliance and efficiency challenges and have them resolved in collaboration with the Nigerian Government.

Work with us to achieve efficient cargo clearance and tackle corruption

Submit your reports via the User Experience Diary, or contact us directly to learn more about how we can assist:

For further information please contact:

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACN Executive Director

Updated Resources for Argentina

MACN is hereby sharing an updated guide about pre-loading inspections for vessels exporting grain products in Argentina. This guide is an updated version of the guidelines first published by MACN in 2017.

MACN has since 2014 implemented a collective action initiative in Argentina to tackle corruption related to inspections of holds and tanks. As a result of this initiative a new regulation to reduce discretion in the inspection process was introduced in 2017. To help MACN members and industry players navigate the new regulation, we are pleased to make available the following documents for download:

  • Resource Guide for Industry (PDF)     

  • Sign for Vessels (PDF)

Learn more about MACN’s work in Argentina here:

MACN Impact Report

We are pleased to share MACNs 2019 Impact report. The report describes the exciting progress we made in 2019 both in terms of how the membership has evolved and grown, the results of our collective action programs and the engagement in the membership on tools and best practice sharing. We are happy to share a summary in the report of the direction MACN will take the coming years with our new 2025 strategy and the exciting but also challenging work we have ahead of us.