News and Events
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.
We very much look forward to welcome our members at MACN’s Virtual Fall Member Meeting on 21 October!
Though we are still sad that we had to cancel the in-person meeting, we hope the day will be engaging with the exciting agenda we have designed!
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
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:
MACN/CBi HelpDesk for Cargo Clearance: https://www.cbinigeria.com/portcallassist/mobile.php
Call: +234 907 101 3336; +234 818 738 0696
For further information please contact:
Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACN Executive Director
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:
Learn more about MACN’s work in Argentina here:
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.
MACN has announced the development of an e-learning training toolkit and platform on ethics and integrity, for ship owners, managers, agents, and maritime cadet schools. Funded by MACN and the TK Foundation, the training toolkit will target different specific user-groups of employees to make it fit for the learners, including captains and crew, employees supporting crew in operational roles, and senior management. The platform and training solutions will be delivered by Videotel and Seagull Maritime, now both part of Ocean Technologies Group.
Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACNs Executive Director said: “The maritime industry is exposed to frequent demands for corruption including cash or in-kind benefits. Ultimately, it is the master who must manage the situation when government officials make demands for corrupt payments. This results in great stress and has a detrimental effect on the health and safety of the crew. Equipping the captain with tools and support functions to say no to demands is key to stopping bribery. It is also a valuable step in building a solid anti-corruption program. With our members insight and engagement, we are building a maritime specific course which will give Master and employees working in the maritime sector, valuable guidance to tackle corrupt demands.”
MACN’s current Integrity Training Toolkit was first developed in 2014 and has been successfully deployed by several MACN members. However, there is a demand from the membership to improve and further develop this training to include stakeholders such as port agents and maritime cadet schools.
Kjell-Arne Danielsen, Senior Vice President at KGJS, MACN Steering committee member, and leading on MACNs Capability building pillar says “Many maritime academies do not have anti-corruption in their curriculum. Unless offered by individual companies, cadets do not receive any training on how to tackle integrity challenges. By open sourcing MACN’s training toolkit to maritime academies, we can better equip the next generation of seafarers with the tools to ‘say no’ to bribery before they start their professional shipping careers. This is essential to change the culture across the maritime industry.”
The delivery methods will include rich-media online and offline training on an e-learning platform. The overall learning outcomes of each training module will include increased understanding of bribery laws and the consequences of corruption; enhanced skills to identifying bribery risks and apply anti-bribery laws in real world situations; improved awareness of the criminal and financial risks of corruption for individuals and companies; and better understanding of the red flags of bribery and learn how to respond appropriately.
Manish Singh, CEO of Ocean Technologies Group commented on their selection as platform and content provider “We are immensely proud to be part to work with the MACN membership on a project that will make such a difference to the daily lives of seafarers. There’s no place for corruption in our industry and training is key to protecting seafarers from illegal demands.”
The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN)—a global business network of over 130 companies working together to tackle corruption in the maritime industry—is expanding its Collective Action initiative in Nigeria with the support of the Siemens Integrity Initiative. The project will be implemented by MACN and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) and run from 2020 up to January 2023.
“Through the generous support from Siemens AG, CBi and MACN will be able to contribute to a stronger government and port authority compliance environment and encourage public-private oversight of compliance in ports and terminals. We believe this will lead to more effective seaports and terminals services, and improved corruption prevention practices that, ultimately, will benefit any business using seaports or terminals in Nigeria.” says Soji Apampa, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Convention on Business Integrity.
The Siemens Integrity Initiative promotes projects around the world that seek to combat corruption through Collective Action. The selection process is highly competitive and favours projects that have a direct impact on the private sector and that strengthen compliance standards and legal systems. CBi was a recipient of support under the first round of funding which it used to develop a Corporate Governance Rating System (CGRS) in partnership with the Nigeria Stock Exchange.
“The Siemens Integrity Initiative is a very competitive funding call that, over the years, has supported some of the leading anti-corruption initiatives globally. For MACN, CBi, and our local stakeholders, the support from Siemens is fantastic recognition of our Collective Action work, and the impact we had in the Nigerian port and maritime sector. We are grateful for the support and excited to add Siemens to the list of donors supporting MACN” says Cecilia Müller Torbrand, Executive Director of MACN.
The project builds on, and will be integrated into, MACN and CBi’s ongoing work in Nigeria that is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. As a result of the Siemens Integrity Initiative support, MACN will expand its work into multiple agencies and port users, enabling greater public-private sector dialogue on integrity issues, equipping local players with proven Collective Action methodologies to drive change, and supporting maritime industry Collective Action initiatives.
“This initiative boosts Siemens efforts to support the establishment of higher integrity standards and fairer market conditions in Nigeria. We are looking forward to making this project a joint success.” Says Ms. Onyeche Tifase, CEO of Siemens Energy Nigeria.
Over the coming three years MACN and CBi will enable port users to demand, track, and ensure greater compliance in Nigerian ports, help strengthen government capability to establish compliance systems and collaboration between business, government and civil society. This will create the platform for the cultural changes that are necessary to improve trade flows in and out of Nigeria, and support the social economic growth the Nigerian government is targeting.
‘’The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) welcomes this intervention by the CBi and MACN. Ports processes and procedures are in dire need of reforms. It is our hope that this initiative will advance the cause of the needed change process.’’ Says Muda Yusuf, DG LCCI.
We regret to inform you that we have made the difficult decision to cancel MACN’s Spring meeting scheduled for 25-26 March in Singapore.
The situation relating to the novel coronavirus remains uncertain in Singapore, as it does around the world. The MACN Steering Committee and Secretariat emphatically believe that the health and safety of our member representatives must be our number one priority. It is for this reason that we made the difficult decision to cancel our Spring meeting in Singapore.
Due to the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus in Singapore, Singapore has raised its Disease Outbreak Response Systems Condition to Orange (Feb 7). To counter the further spread or the novel coronavirus within the country, Singapore has placed visa restrictions on foreigners with a recent history of travel to China.
Additional precautionary measures are being instituted to minimize the risk of further virus transmission to the community and event organizers are advised to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events.
With the limited time we have until our meeting was scheduled, not knowing how the situation may escalate further, and what additional precautionary measures that may be introduced, we believe the prudent option is to cancel MACN’s Spring meeting.
The MACN Secretariat is currently working with the hotel for those who have booked rooms and we will provide impacted members with an update later this week. We recommend that you contact your travel agents for potential reimbursement of your flights.
The October Members Meeting scheduled for October 21 – 22 will go ahead as planned and we look forward to seeing you here. We will advise of the location in the coming weeks.
Although we have had to cancel the upcoming Spring meeting, we continue to work hard towards a maritime industry without corruption and encourage you all to continue your efforts within MACN’s working groups and your own organizations to work towards this goal.
MACN was delighted to welcome 160 participants to the annual Fall Members Meeting in London on 30-31 October.
The meeting covered a mix of plenary sessions and working group activities. On the first day, we had the opportunity to hear about MACN’s collective action work and MACN’s new 2025 Strategy. The sessions and discussions on day two revolved around MACN’s tools, relevant compliance topics and 2025 Strategy execution.
MACN is making progress on many fronts, we are growing as an initiative, we see improvement in the operating environment in many countries and we will launch several new tools shortly e.g. MACN’s new eLearning platform in Q1 2020.
We were honored to have speakers from i.a. the Basel Institute on Governance, the Nigeria Shippers’ Council, the Nigeria Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Nordisk Defence Club. We also heard from expert MACN partners including Soji Apampa, The Convention on Business Integrity and Fernando Felipe Basch, Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi.
Thank you to all speakers, members and observers for a great two days!
Save the Dates for 2020
MACN Spring Meeting
25-26 March 2020, Singapore
MACN Fall Meeting
21-22 October 2020, Athens or London