New helpline of the MACN launched to tackle maritime corruption in India

April 25, 2023

Seafarers, ship owning / managing / operating companies and their agents can now report incidents of corruption in Indian ports / seaside through a new, dedicated, state-of-the-art, multilingual and 24/7 helpline provided by MACN in India and operated by ISWAN. This helpline is operational since 25th November 2022.

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has partnered with the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) to provide the new helpline service, which is a critical component of MACN’s work to tackle maritime bribery and other corruption incidents (both in cash and kind) on the seaside in India.

MACN is a global organisation with 186 members in the maritime and logistics supply chain industry. MACN and its members work towards the elimination of all forms of maritime corruption by: raising awareness of the challenges faced; implementing the MACN Anti-Corruption Principles and co-developing and sharing best practices; collaborating with governments, non-governmental organizations, and civil society to identify and mitigate the root causes of corruption; and creating a culture of integrity within the maritime community.

India is already a signatory to and has ratified the United Nation’s Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC- 2000). Bribery and corruption are criminalised in India under the Indian Prevention of Corruption Act (1998) and Companies Act (2013), amongst other Indian legal frameworks. However, merchant vessels and other allied stakeholders continue to encounter incidents of corruption in the maritime value chain when ships call at Indian ports. The IMO has, through its Circular FAL.5/Circ.48 dated 1st June 2022, called upon shipping companies worldwide to report maritime corruption incidents to MACN.

In 2019, MACN had launched its Port Integrity Campaign in India to reduce and, in the long term, eliminate integrity issues and bottlenecks to trade during operations in Indian ports. MACN’s Indian operations formally commenced on 27th July 2022. The new helpline service of MACN-India, operated by ISWAN, provides a safe and secure channel for masters / crew, operating teams and / or agents to report incidents of corruption, which are escalated to the highest authorities of the public and private agencies concerned in real time and actively followed up by MACN-India for effective and timely resolution and push back against such illicit demands. Complainants are advised to file PANs (Pre-Arrival Notifications) to MACN-India at least 72 hours prior to the arrival of the vessels. Following that, if they encounter any maritime corruption issues, they should inform the MACN-India in real time.

ISWAN’s Helpline Manager Chester Quintal said:

‘Corruption is not unique to India; it’s happening around the world. This problem does not only hamper trade, but it also has a negative impact on seafarers’ welfare as seafarers have to endure demands for bribe that are often accompanied by harassment, intimidation, or psychological pressure. They can even be denied their basic right to shore leave if they do not accede. We laud MACN’s initiative to tackle this problem, and our helpline team – trained by MACN to provide bespoke advice and assistance – is available 24/7 to any seafarer on-board vessels calling at Indian ports.’

According to Capt. Rayomand Shroff, MACN-India’s Maritime Expert and Helpline In-charge:

‘This customized and technology-oriented helpline is a bespoke and distinctive service offering for mariners, shipping companies and agents when their vessels (regardless of their registry) call on Indian ports, both on the western and eastern seaboards. This enables them to reach out to the MACN-India Team in real time when confronted with any illicit gratification demands (cash / kind) from officials of public agencies etc. in the maritime value chain. MACN is an objective, non-partisan and reliable third-party partner that builds a bridge of trust and connects such stakeholders with the public functionaries concerned. This helpline acts as a secure firewall to mitigate and eliminate such extraneous demands and facilitates a seamless port user experience for vessels at Indian ports across the country. Therefore, this is to urge all stakeholders concerned to optimize the usage of this helpline. Please join us in saying no to maritime corruption, through our collective action!’

Seafarers can report an incident of corruption to the MACN-India Helpline through the following contact channels:

Telephone number: +44 7418 375922

Stay up to date with ISWAN's monthly email newsletter

We are grateful to our main funders for their continued support: