During this operation, regional coordinators facilitated enhanced information sharing and coordinated rummage activities of 13 Joint Maritime Control Units (JMCUs) on targeted vessels. This operation aimed to intensify law enforcement while evaluating the strength and capacity of SEACOP’s Maritime Intelligence Units (MIUs) in real-time information sharing. Funded by the European Union, SEACOP V project aims to combat maritime illicit trade and criminal networks in the Caribbean, Latin America, and West Africa, while respecting human rights and addressing the negative impact on security, public health, and socio-economic development.
The Caribbean region boasts a robust network of SEACOP-trained and supported 18 Maritime Intelligence Units. With increased maritime traffic during this period, it provided the perfect testing ground for the network’s efficiency. MIUs and JMCUs teams trained by SEACOP in Antigua, Jamaica, Grenada, and the Dominican Republic focused on leisure and commercial traffic, while information sharing extended to key partners such as the US Joint Interagency Task Force South, CARICOM IMPACS Joint Regional Communications Centre, Regional Security System, and Colombia. The SEACOP team also connected with partners in Europe, including their long-standing partner MAOC-(N), French customs and Navy, EU Frontex, and Spanish national law enforcement bodies. Real-time information sharing was achieved with partners in Cape Verde and South Africa, spanning across the Atlantic to the African continent.
This unprecedented wide scope of information sharing on a common platform allowed to specifically test the MIUs in various areas, including profiling, targeting, target packaging, and standardisation of operational procedures across beneficiary countries. Additionally, all JMCUs conducted boarding operations on vessels of interest in the Dominican Republic and Guyana.
Thanks to the relentless efforts of local authorities supported by SEACOP-trained Maritime Intelligence units, Operation Caribe yielded impressive results:
- Antigua: 70 kg of cannabis and 4,95 kg of cocaine seized, leading to the arrest of a notorious trafficker;
- Dominican Republic: 1147 kg of cocaine seized;
- Grenada: 30 cases of uncustomed alcohol confiscated;
- Jamaica: two abandoned vessels outfitted for trafficking and found in an area known for smuggling;
- Colombia: a staggering 322,1 kg of cocaine intercepted.
The operation Caribe not only achieved its law enforcement objectives but also demonstrated the region’s intelligence sharing capabilities. SEACOP shared information with partners in Argentina, Cape Verde, and South Africa to support ongoing cases during the exercise. Real-time information exchange was also facilitated with our international partners, MAOC and Colombia, aligning efforts seamlessly.
SEACOP launched its fifth phase in May 2021, led by Expertise France and FIIAPP. Under the Global Illicit Flows Programme of the EU, SEACOP V focuses on reinforcing the effectiveness of its intelligence and control network, integrating knowledge into curricula, and improving cooperation and information sharing.
- Publication date
- 15 June 2023
- Service for Foreign Policy Instruments