The International Maritime Organization (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) in response to a submission from Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway, United Kingdom, United States 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 said: “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 Networks 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 NGO’s 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.”

Photos: (Credit – Exmouth RNLI)

PR150419 Exmouth RNLI volunteers in front of the Shannon class lifeboat

Last week, the charity that saves lives at sea published statistics from 2018. Exmouth lifeboats launched a total of 73 times on service, assisted 53 people and saved three lives. The sixth busiest station in the south west is recruiting and training in time for the busy summer season.

Coxswain, Steve Hockings-Thompson commented:

2018 was one of the busiest years for our volunteers, since I took over as Coxswain at Exmouth. As well as the services, we have had an intensive period of training that has allowed us to successfully pass out a new batch of shore crew and some additional new Shannon launch and recovery drivers. I would like thank not only the volunteers, but their families for their dedication throughout the year, that enables us to operate to the standard that the RNLI requires of its volunteers.’

In 2018, Exmouth Lifeboat Fundraising Team raised a total of £73,327.19 which included £10,000 from the Fish and Chip Ball, organised by the newly-formed Events Team. 25 volunteer Tour Guides showed 5,812 visitors around the station which notably increased donations in the collection boxes. The Shop took £95,071 and was the 12th busiest in the RNLI and third in the Channel region.

Simon Davidson, Chair of the Exmouth Lifeboat Management Group praised the volunteers:

Our volunteers have put in an enormous amount of effort and dedication to keep our lifeboats afloat. Today, fewer people carry cash so we are facing new challenges in raising funds by thinking up new ideas together – that’s why last year’s statistics are so impressive with Exmouth out-performing many other branches in the Institution. These funds, together with legacies are what help keep our two lifeboats ready for service, the running costs of the station and the crews fully kitted out and trained.

All of this would be impossible without the many volunteers who make up the boat crews and the shore crews: the people who respond to their pagers at any time of day, any day of the week, whatever the weather. Thank you to everyone who has contributed in whatever way during the last year: it does make a difference.

I would like to acknowledge the contributions of Don Hodgkinson, Bernice Williams and Linda Cawsey who stepped down from key roles last year, each after decades of loyal service. We are currently recruiting a variety of roles to retain our charity’s reputation within our community. All training will be provided, so please get in touch if you’d like to join us in saving lives at sea.’