egypt-suez-anti-corruptionCollective Action Plays a Vital Role in Addressing Integrity Risks and Delivering Tangible Improvements

Background and Rationale

The Arab Republic of Egypt has established robust anti-corruption frameworks and action plans in conjunction with regional and international anti-corruption conventions, namely the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention, and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC). Furthermore, the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Academy of the Administrative Control Authority, which through education and training aims at preventing and combating corruption. 

For too long, integrity risks have been assessed on ‘perceptions’ rather than evidence-based experiences. A key focus of MACN’s work has been the collection of anonymous incidence reports and Local HelpDesk reports to get a factual understanding of what integrity challenges are being seen in Egyptian port calls and during transits. These reports assist the larger maritime community to improve operations and allow for prosperous cooperation between business and maritime authorities, and in this case, the progress of business in Egypt. 

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), during its Facilitation Committee (FAL 46), 2022 took a systemic approach to address the issue of corruption associated with the ship-shore interface in ports. Contracting Governments are now required to encourage public authorities to assess the risks of corruption and address them by developing and implementing preventive measures to strengthen integrity, transparency, and accountability.  

The IMO FAL Committee approved related Guidance “Guidance to Implement and Adopt Procedures Against Maritime Corruption” to implement and adopt procedures against maritime corruption. The guidance encourages the use of administrative or criminal penalties to prevent corruption, regular updates to existing anti-corruption measures or implementation of new measures, and anti-corruption training for relevant personnel who are actively engaged in ship/shore interface operations. It contains a list of some best practices, and procedures against maritime corruption, and also makes recommendations for reporting allegations of corruption to the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN). 

In this regard, we highly appreciate the Suez Canal Authority’s recent notice – Re. R.M 141/G dated 1st March 2022, highlighting the Suez Canal Authority’s commitment to the Egyptian National Anti-Corruption Strategy and promoting a culture of integrity. These robust efforts by this SCA administration to mitigate risks of improper behaviour have been positively received in the maritime industry.  

MACN’s Strategy

Say No Campaign: MACN launched a ‘Say No Campaign’ in the Suez Canal on Global Anti-Corruption Day in December 2015. The campaign was a collective effort, with MACN member companies agreeing to reject and report demands by using a coordinated zero-tolerance policy, communication material, and an onboard toolkit for Captains developed by MACN. Through constant impact monitoring, we see that the campaign is expanding across the industry and among local partners, e.g., port agents.  

MACN HelpDesk: In September 2021, MACN, in partnership with Eldib Pandi, set up its local HelpDesk in Egypt to empower the maritime industry to resist and report incidents. The local HelpDesk enabled MACN to address an increase in recent incidents as well as the general concerns of Network members.  

Formal Collaboration with the Suez Canal Authority: The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and MACN signed a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2022 to provide a framework to facilitate collaboration between the SCA and MACN in areas of transparency and integrity and to adhere with the Egyptian national strategy against corruption. The MoU aims to establish an official communication channel between the SCA and MACN. To further expand and operationalise the MoU, the SCA, and MACN are currently working on developing a Protocol document. 

Outcomes and Impact

  • MACN’s ‘Say No’ campaign resulted in a decline in incidents and thereby demonstrated how collective action can play one of the most vital roles in addressing integrity risks, delivering tangible improvements to the operating environment for the crew, companies, frontline staff, and local stakeholders.   
  • In 2022, MACN and Eldib continued to monitor vessels calling Egyptian ports and transiting waterways and created a guide including (Do’s and Don’ts for vessels transiting the Suez Canal and calling Egyptian ports and terminals.
  • The MACN local HelpDesk has been active since October 2021, 40 MACN members used this support, with 593 port calls registered of which 13 were incidents. The Local HelpDesk with timely assistance from key local stakeholders has successfully resolved all incidents.  

Latest MACN News from Egypt

MACN’s Local Partner

In 2021, MACN identified Eldib Pandi as its local partner in Egypt to support its Collective Action initiatives. As a local partner to MACN, Eldib Pandi aims at strengthening integrity in ports, terminals, and seaways of Egypt by working together with local and international stakeholders. MACN with Eldib Pandi expanded its anti-corruption ‘HelpDesk’ concept to Egyptian ports and waterways. The local HelpDesk supports MACN member companies with operational advice when vessels and crew are faced with unethical demands and/or unethical or unfair outcomes from inspections during port calls and/or transits in waterways.  

Eldib Pandi is an independent provider of marine services, marine survey services, as well as non-marine and marine consultancy, and specialised in providing P& I, and marine-related legal assistance.

Egypt Helpdesk (Active since October 2021)

47

Members have used the service

715

Port calls registered (13 escalated as incidents)

100%

Cases successfully resolved

Updated June 2024

Lessons Learned

Overall, the MACN campaign demonstrates that when acting collectively, there is an incentive for both public and private sector players to address integrity risks, resulting in tangible improvements in the operating environment for frontline staff on board and ashore, and local stakeholders. Further, companies of all sizes and nationalities have been successful through the campaign, which demonstrates that it is possible to say no by acting collectively and through committed leadership on integrity. 

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MACN Egypt Timeline

  • 2023

    • MACN and Maritime Transport Sector (MTS) holds a meeting at MTS’s premises in Alexandria, discussing their activities and potential scope of collaboration
  • 2022

    • MACN welcomes the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) at the Fall Members Meeting
    • The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and MACN signs a Memorandum of Understanding to provide a framework for cooperation
  • 2021

    • MACN launched Local HelpDesk with Eldib Pandi
    • Eldib Pandi was identified as MACN’s local partner to expand MACN’s work and presence in Egypt
  • 2020-2016

    • Expansion of Campaign and continued monitoring of progress
  • 2015

    • “Say No” Campaign piloted in the Suez Canal
    • Toolkit developed and distributed to MACN members
    • Engagement with the Suez Canal Authority and other government agencies
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