Maersk hits out at severe levels of corruption across maritime

Maersk has publically hit out at the “severity of corruption in the maritime sector” and has called on greater cross-industry collaboration as well as help from governments to stamp out the plague of facilitation payments and extortion hitting shipping lines across the world.

In its just published sustainability report, Maersk noted: “[W]e operate in an environment where facilitation payments and extortion are common occurrences.”

The Danish shipping conglomerate has been working for a number of years to get towards a zero facilitation payments target.

Last year across Maersk Line’s owned ships it managed to reduce facilitation payments by 96%.

“Because of the level and severity of corruption in the maritime sector, a traditional internal compliance programme is not enough to protect the company and our employees. We must work with others in both our industry and governments,” Maersk stated in its sustainability report.

Cecilia Müller Torbrand, programme director at the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, was quoted in the report as saying: “Eliminating corrupt practices in the maritime sector is necessary to create a safe working environment for seafarers and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. We will only succeed in achieving this vision through long term commitment and collaboration. A.P. Moller – Maersk’s leadership and contributions to this field provide inspiration to other members and replicable models.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. indeed an issue, not only with shipping companies but with freight forwarders as well, i know of several good people that lost their job because they refuse to follow orders breaking the law…. /johan

  2. Thank you Maersk Line for that strong statement, we are successfully dealing with the Fuel Theft problem that is huge in some regions of the world.
    FUELTRAX provides full transparency to our clients to address this and gain efficiency as well.

  3. Corruption can never be eradicated. It’s deep rooted. Severity can be reduced if and only if, all stake holders are engaged.

    1. Agreed, “all stakeholders” have to be engaged. Individual whistle blowers are mostly wasting their breath and complaining often rebounds upon the whistle blower. It is much easier to cough up and keep records. Ship’s staff have enough to do without having to worry about keeping corrupt officials sweet.

  4. Corruption has been endemic ever since I went to sea over 60 years ago.With the growth of flag state registries from contras with corrupt administration, this corruption has now pervaded the IMO as well and is affecting safety at sea. Out of interest, when the present Secretary General was director of his Korean port, that was also corrupt. The Maritime Anti Corruption Network needs teeth if it is to actually do something. A few appearances in court of port directors and flag state marine administration directors would not go amiss.Otherwise it will continue. Now it has spread to the Class societies in places like West Africa.fraudulent certification is also on the rise. I admire Maersk for their stand, but not many companies will join them.

  5. I’m sure it would be very wrong of me to say “Brazil offshore” at this point.

    But thanks for a good laugh.

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