Maritime network receives anti-bribery award

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) which was initiated by Maersk, has won an award for its work in stamping out corruption in the shipping industry.

Anti Bribery
Maersk was responsible for initiating the network in 2011 – the first of its kind within the maritime industry – in a bid to foster a collaborative approach towards stamping out corruption. Alexandra Wrage, CEO and founder of TRACE (left, Jake Storey, Vice Chair of MACN, Chief Risk Officer, Gear bulk (right). Photo by Trace International, Inc.

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has received “The 2015 Innovation in Anti-Bribery Compliance Award” for its work in tackling corruption in the maritime industry.

Maersk was responsible for initiating the network in 2011 – the first of its kind within the maritime industry - in a bid to foster a collaborative approach towards stamping out corruption.

Since its inception four years ago, the network has grown to include over 50 global companies and has made important progress in its fight against corruption.

One company cannot do it alone
Cecilia Muller Torbrand, Group Legal counsel at Maersk Group, who is Chair of MACN, says the industry-wide approach is paying off.

“A single company cannot set an agenda or push governments and official entities. Much more can be accomplished via collective action,” said Muller Torbrand. “MACN has made progress on initiatives that we would not have been able to alone, because we have a strong platform from which to approach governments and other stakeholders.”

Setting industry standards
Successful initiatives from MACN include setting standards for the maritime industry, by developing tools and sharing best practices on MACN’s seven anti-corruption principles which serve as core elements for an anti-corruption compliance programme.

Macn Award
Despite major efforts to stamp out facilitation payments completely, the shipping industry continues to face the problem.

MACN has made progress on initiatives that we would not have been able to alone, because we have a strong platform from which to approach governments and other stakeholders.

Cecilia Muller

CECILIA MULLER TORBRAND, GROUP LEGAL COUNSEL, MAERSK GROUP AND CHAIR OF MACN

Fighting corruption in the maritime industry

  • Despite major efforts to stamp out facilitation payments completely, the shipping industry continues to face the problem. Ship captains regularly face demands for facilitation payments from pilots for example, who board the vessel to guide it into berth but might refuse to do so without some form of payment. These demands are most common in high-risk ports in Asia, Africa and South America.
  • Refusing demands for facilitation payments can lead to commercial delays or even threats to crew, but allowing these to be embedded as a way of business will foster a system of corruption and inefficiency that is much costlier in the long-term. It is therefore the Group’s stand to reject these demands and actively work towards elimination of facilitation payments.
  • According to the 2014 Sustainability Report, the Group has registered a reduction in facilitation payments in 2014. Click here to read Captain Soelvar Michelsen of Maersk Tankers explain his strategies for avoiding facilitation payments.

To bring global attention to the issue, the network has a strategic collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, and has received support from the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office and recognition from the World Economic Forum and the Basel Institute on Governance.

MACN has also carried out a corruption risk assessment at major ports in Nigeria to identify the challenges faced when vessels call at ports, or in cargo-handling and administration procedures. Many of the lessons learnt from this project will be replicated in other high-risk countries.

Muller Torbrand hopes to see the network continue to grow.

“There is no ‘plug and play’ solution for how to combat corruption. But by taking action, we learn what works and how to be even better. Business can’t tackle the issue alone, so multi-stakeholder actions are essential to eliminate corruption. We hope even more companies see the value in joining MACN and that the network inspires other sectors to do the same.”

The award was presented to MACN by TRACE – a leading anti-bribery standard setting business association, on 26th March. President and founder of TRACE, Alexandra Wrage said: “MACN sets the standard for excellence in the shipping industry. The collaborative nature of the network, particularly working collectively with other stakeholders, has proven to be a successful model for other industries and joint initiatives.”

What is a facilitation payment and what is a bribe?

Bribe

Bribe

This is any payment to obtain something the giver is not clearly entitled to receive. Payments greater than USD 150 made to one person, and smaller payments to higher level officials, even to obtain something the giver is clearly entitled to receive, would generally be considered to be potential bribes. Maersk has a zero tolerance policy for bribes.

Fallitation

Facilitation payment

Small payments such as cash or cigarettes demanded by low-level public officials to perform routine duties which they otherwise refuse to perform. They are given to obtain something the giver is clearly entitled to receive. Maersk’s policy is that facilitation payments must be opposed and avoided. If this cannot be done without significant consequences for the company or employees, they must be documented and reported. The Maersk Group’s ultimate goal is the elimination of facilitation payments.