Abuja MoU, MACN, train 22 countries on combating corruption at ports

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Lagos:   , Capt. Sunday Umoren, Secretary General of the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control for the West and Central African Region (Abuja MoU), has urged port officers to strengthen their capacity and combat corruption in the maritime sector.

Umoren made this call during a training on Ethics and Integrity Leadership for port state control officers from 22 countries in West and Central Africa.

The training was organised by the Abuja MoU in collaboration with the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) on Monday in Lagos.

According to him, addressing corruption starts with understanding the Abuja MoU’s key mandate to eliminate substandard ships.

(A group picture of Port State
Control officers at a
training organised on
Ethics And Integrity
Leadership for port state
control officers across
22 countries in West and Central Africa)

He noted that substandard ships pose threats to human life, the marine environment, and the livelihoods of maritime stakeholders.

Umoren pointed out that unethical and corrupt practices exacerbate risks to maritime facilities and cargo, undermining the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) initiative for “safer seas and cleaner oceans.”

He categorised corrupt practices into three types which include accepting bribes, offering bribes, and failing to report known corruption.

He highlighted the IMO’s Code of Ethics, which sets the standards for ethical conduct among its staff, suggesting that similar standards should be applied by Port State Control Officers (PSCOs).


“The phrase “no more favourable treatment” which has been severally debated in some of the meetings of the IMO, may also hold good in the context of ethics and integrity.

“This is because gratuitous offers are usually aimed at favourable and skewed treatment,”he added.

He noted the need for PSCOs to maintain an attitude of innocence and purity in line with the Code of Good Conduct for PSCOs.

Recognising the crucial role of PSCOs, the Abuja MoU collaborated with MACN for this training, marking the first such collaboration with a regional MoU or flag state.

Mr. Vivek Menon, Associate Director for Global Operations and Industry Engagement at MACN, underscored the importance of implementing training to improve transparency and efficiency in port operations. He noted that corruption not only affects societies but also impacts trade volumes entering West and Central Africa.

The Consul General of Denmark, Mrs Jette Bjerrum, highlighted Denmark’s collaboration with the Abuja MoU to modernise the maritime sector through improvements in ethics and leadership.

She stressed that transparency and good ethics are essential for sector improvement.

Chairman of Abuja MoU, Mr Ebrimo Sillah, Gambia’s Minister of Transport, Works, and Infrastructure, called for collaboration and transparency to enhance the technical standards of shipping operations.

He emphasised the importance of understanding port operation mechanisms and maintaining maximum integrity.

Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, Vice Chairman of Abuja MoU and Nigeria’s Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, urged port operators to adopt good ethical practices to improve trade facilitation.

He affirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to fostering integrity in port operations.

Dr Dayo Mobereola, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), represented by Mr Fatai Adeyemi, Executive Director of Operations at NIMASA, stated that PSCOs are the first line of defence in ports.

He emphasised that ethical conduct is crucial for fair and just decision-making in port state control activities.

Capt. Tajudeen Alao, President of the Master Mariners Association of Nigeria, urged shipping operators to enhance ethics and personnel training.

He stressed the importance of leveraging technology to stay relevant in the sector.

Dr Odunayo Ani, President of the Women in Shipping Trading Association (WISTA) and Head of Audit at NIMASA, highlighted the need to prioritise ethics and integrity in leadership.

She called for the integration of an ethical workforce in the maritime sector.

Mrs Rollens Macfoy, President of Women in Maritime Africa (WIMAfrica), Nigeria, commended the Abuja MoU for ensuring the implementation of ethical practices in ports.

She also appealed for more women to be included in training programmes to enhance professionalism and opportunities.

Mrs Vivian Chimezie-Azubuike, Director General of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NSC), advocated for the adoption of best practices in leadership at all levels to facilitate smoother shipping operations and trade.

Biola Lawal

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