Compliance Issues Faced by the Maritime Industry

4 Ноя

Cудоходные компании часто сотрудничают с незнакомыми контрагентами при заключении контрактов. Это означает, что для них очень велик риск столкнуться с компанией, которая фигурирует в санкционном списке. Велики также коррупционные риски, в частности, при таможенной очистке в портах. Эти риски усугубляются разноречивостью законодательства в различных странах, порты которых посещаются судном.  Морская антикоррупционная сеть (MACN – Maritime Anti-Corruption Network), БИМКО и другие морские организации много делают для того, чтобы уменьшить уровень подобных рисков. Однако полностью исключить их не удается. Таким образом, судоходные компании должны, со своей стороны, предпринимать превентивные меры для смягчения таких рисков. Важнейшей из этих мер является внедрение программ соответствия деятельности компании законодательству, поскольку в случае нарушения требований таких программ компания и ее менеджмент могут быть привлечены к ответственности и понести другие неблагоприятные правовые последствия.Shipping companies operate in a business environment
where deals are frequently conducted with foreign
counterparties. More often than not, companies also
have little information on their business counterparts, not
to mention who the beneficial owners of their
counterparties are. Further, the customary practice is
such that local agents are engaged to handle aspects of
the business and these local agents may not have
adequate knowledge of the applicable regulatory
obligations. All these externalities make companies in
the maritime industry extremely vulnerable and exposed
to regulatory risks.
The identity of the ultimate beneficial owner (“UBO”) of
the ship-owning entity is often shielded behind multiple
layers of corporate structures. It is also common for oneship shell companies to be incorporated for the purposes
of masking the individual behind the entity who may be
involved in money laundering or terrorist financing. It is
crucial that one carries out the requisite due diligence
not only on the UBO of the ship-owning company but the
key individuals and companies involved in the
transaction. Based on the information, one will be able to
ascertain whether there are any red flags on trade-based
money laundering and whether the vessel had been or is
listed on a sanctions list.
Some of the prevalent types of corruption risks in the
maritime industry include those that occur during port of
calls (e.g. where bribes are given to enable a vessel with
high-risk defects to enter), customs clearance (e.g.
request for facilitation payments by customs officials in
order to obtain clearance) and procurement of goods
and services (e.g. bribery to secure contracts).
Each time a ship calls at a different port, a different set of
regulations and local practice applies. The vessel has to
go through customs clearance, immigration and
inspections. The Master and crew is faced with potential requests for bribes at each hurdle. A refusal to accede to
the requests for bribes would usually result in losses and
delays as the vessel is made to incur demurrage or is
unable to arrive in time at the designated port for her
next fixture. Apart from financial losses, there may even
be potential threats to the safety of the Master and the
crew. In this regard, the main international anti-bribery
laws generally prohibit giving a bribe unless there is an
imminent threat of physical harm to the persons
involved. When weighing the costs of offering or
accepting a bribe, the company should bear in mind the
irreparable reputational damage that the company may
suffer and the prosecutorial risks that they are choosing
to undertake by participating in the corrupt act.
As counterparties are often from different jurisdictions
and deal with each other through third party agents,
there could be differences in the interpretation of the
applicable laws and local practices. For instance, what
constitutes a ‘bribe’ in one country may be an accepted
form of payment in another. Many may also not be
aware that legislations such as the UK Bribery Act and
the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act have extra-territorial
At the industry level, there are several initiatives to
eliminate corruption by the industry in recent years. One
example is the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network which
aims to eliminate all forms of maritime corruption and to
create a culture of integrity within the maritime
community. BIMCO has also come up with an anticorruption clause which provides companies with options
to react to demands for bribes, entitling the parties to
terminate the contact should the other insists on the
unlawful conduct.
With the regulators stepping up enforcement measures
in recent years, it is crucial that all companies adopt a
robust compliance programme with standardised
controls. Whilst the policies and procedures are essential
features of a compliance programme, they are only as
effective as how the members of the company choose to
implement them and whether there is tone from the top
by the management that compliance is regarded
seriously in the company. Apart from having effective
policies and internal controls in place, it is also important
that the employees receive training. Everyone in the
company ought to know what to do when faced with a
bribe, what red flags to look out for when a lucrative
business opportunity surfaces, how to escalate a matter
when the situation arises and what to do when a
business counterparty refuses to agree to abide by the
company’s anti-bribery and corruption policy for third
parties, etc. The consequences of non-compliance are
not an option and the individuals directly involved in the
corrupt act, the company and their senior officers can be
held liable.

Автор: Nicola Loh