Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
The IMO has agreed to address maritime corruption by including this important issue in its work programme for the Facilitation Committee. The decision to include an anti-corruption agenda came at the latest meeting of the IMO’s Facilitation Committee (FAL 43 held 8-12 April) in response to a submission from Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway, UK, US and Vanuatu. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) co-sponsored the submission along with a number of other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (illustrated) commented: ‘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.’
According to the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network* 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.
Addressing the IMO’s Facilitation Committee the Director of Regulatory Affairs at the International Chamber of Shipping, 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 shipowner 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.’
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**.
The agreement of the IMO to include the anti-corruption agenda in its work programme follows a submission made to the 42nd meeting of the IMO Facilitation Committee in June 2018 by the ICS and a group of NGOs asking for the issue to be addressed by member states.
Guy Platten concluded: ‘The industry is acutely aware of the problem and wants to work with member states to ensure that robust anti-corruption guidelines are put in place.’
At its 2019 AGM held in the Faroe Islands in week ending 15 June representatives of the world’s national shipowners’ associations reviewed the priorities of the global shipowners’ association, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
Sadly, the ICS Annual General Meeting was overshadowed by the attacks against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the very serious threat this presents to the lives of seafarers and maritime trade.
Action on CO2 Reduction
ICS agreed a suite of actions in support of the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy to decarbonise international shipping in line with the United Nations 1.5 degree climate change goal.
Speaking from the Faroe Islands, ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson (illustrated) said: ‘It is imperative that IMO Member States adopt a new global regulation to mandate further short term CO2 reduction measures at the next session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in 2020. This should deliver further CO2 reductions by 2023 to help us meet the IMO target set for 2030. We will work with a broad coalition of governments to produce a comprehensive proposal that can be submitted to IMO in September this year.’
Pan-European multimodal service provider Samskip have indicated experience gained up to 31 March 2019 find it fully prepared for a North Sea container traffic surge, as attitudes harden in the run up to October’s revised UK Brexit deadline. (An illustration of Samskip’s traffic is provided here with thanks ©)
Europe’s largest multimodal transport group by freight volume reports that it expects UK exporters and importers to start switching away from trailers and towards containerisation, repeating a trend established in the run-up to the original deadline for Brexit of 31 March this year.
David Besseling, Samskip UK Trade Manager commented: ‘We saw a significant push in container volumes up to March 2019, especially into Hull, as decision-makers facing uncertainty opted for the reliability and proven procedures of container shipping. Concerns over supply chain security are fast re-emerging.’
Besseling reflected that stockpiling contributed to the earlier traffic surge, but added that the experience also confirmed robustness in new Hull-Ghent and Hull-Amsterdam links established by Samskip at the end of 2018. The services add to existing high-frequency connections between Rotterdam, Tilbury, Hull and Grangemouth.