Nigerian authorities participate in anti-corruption project

The private maritime sector and Nigerian authorities have said that an anti-corruption project – hoping to enable captains, owners and charterers of vessels to call at ports without having to worry about demands for payments-in-kind, harassment or the threat of delays if “gifts” are not forthcoming – was bearing fruit.

Trade and shipowner organization Danish Shipping said that Nigeria could be a challenging place in which to do business, with unlawful demands commonplace.

An analysis carried out by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network and UN Development Programme concluded that it could take more than 140 signatures to get a vessel or cargo cleared by the local authorities in Nigeria.

“Unlawful demands put a huge risk on vessel crew and shipping companies,” said Maria Skipper Schwenn, Executive Director, Danish Shipping. “Cases of extortion, harassment and threats of violence are, unfortunately, not uncommon. Danish Shipping has a zero-tolerance approach towards bribery, and we are very pleased that the anti-corruption efforts have been fruitful.”

A recent survey of shipping companies calling at ports in Nigeria showed  that the anti-corruption project had a positive effect on the operating environment in the country.

Danish Shipping was responsible for the contact with donors and the financial governance. The project was funded by Danida, the Danish Maritime Fund, Orient Foundation and Lauritzen Foundation.