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.’
It was reported on 19 September that ABB will install the Port of Incheon’s first shore-to-ship power facility, enabling passenger vessels to cut emissions, noise and vibrations at the berth
ABB has secured the contract covering the Republic of Korea’s commitment to sustainable shore-to-ship power, after a pilot scheme for passenger ships to plug into the local grid received approval from Incheon Port Authority (IPA). (Our attached illustration is reproduced by kind permission of the Port of Incheon ©)
Juha Koskela, Managing Director, ABB Marine & Ports commented: ‘As the first agreement covering shore-to-ship power in South Korea, this is a truly significant breakthrough for ABB. We are honoured to be selected by IPA to support their efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships, as well as moving towards increasingly sustainable port operations.’
In addition to a new $160 million ferry terminal opened in April 2019, the Port of Incheon inaugurated South Korea’s largest cruise terminal in June this year. Given its metropolitan location and IPA’s ambitions to develop its ‘Golden Harbor’ vision for Incheon as a new tourism hub for the Northeast Asia, environmental credentials rank highly in port priorities, it is reported.
At the start of this year’s London International Shipping Week on 9 September Nusrat Ghani, Maritime Minister, on behalf of the UK Government, confirmed that it will enable construction of a new advanced ship for the General Lighthouse Authority, Trinity House, to replace the ageing THV Patricia (illustrated, © Trinity House), built in 1982 by Henry Robb of Leith.
The new vessel, yet to be named, will provide and service aids to navigation in some of the most dangerous waters, marking channels and hazards and taking advantage of the latest technology.
Of this provision Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani, said: ‘Our maritime sector is crucial to UK trade with 95% of our imports and exports transported by sea. With our waters becoming busier all the time, dealing with incidents quickly and efficiently is more important than ever. This new ship will support the General Lighthouse Authority to help future-proof their fleet and continue to support maritime safety and trade for generations to come.’