The other side of the port gate
In the city of Lázaro Cárdenas on Mexico’s Pacific coast, a charity is providing much-needed education and nutrition to disadvantaged children. With the support of APM Terminals, which has recently opened a new port there, it is providing a foundation for their future lives.
“The officials come aboard and they make it very clear they want something. They open their bags and lay them out on the windowsill. That’s the signal. Then there’s an intense battle of wills, a negotiation where seafarers are asked for something they won’t give. It’s very stressful, and the relief when the officials disembark is overly felt. The tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife.”
Dr. Lisa L. Froholdt recounts her recent experience aboard a Maersk Line vessel. Assistant professor at the World Maritime University (WMU), in Malmö, Sweden; Froholdt was invited to sail with Maersk Line to witness first-hand how Captains deal with demands for facilitation payments in preparation for a new anti-corruption course held at the WMU this year.
Corruption on the curriculum
Corruption has long been a challenge in the shipping industry, particularly in the form of facilitation payments – small payments such as cash, cigarettes or soft drinks sought by low-level public officials to perform routine duties.