On Monday 21 November 2022, SEACOP held its first Joint Maritime Control Uunit (JMCU) ship control training course in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for 12 agents from Customs, national and maritime Police, the Navy, the Ministry of Water and Forestry, the National Gendarmerie and the Port Authority.
Held at the National Customs School, this training is the very first delivered to the Joint Maritime Control Unit of the Port of Abidjan.
It was delivered by experts from French and Senegalese Customs.
Côte d’Ivoire joined the SEACOP network in 2022, and has already benefited from a maritime intelligence unit training (MIU) in Dakar last month.
These two units, MIU and JMCU, are tasked with collecting intelligence, targeting and searching suspicious vessels as part of the fight against illicit trafficking in the maritime environment. Like other countries in the Gulf of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire is targeted by drug trafficking groups. The country has seized large quantities of cocaine, most recently in April 2022 with the seizure of over a ton of cocaine.
During his opening speech, Director General of Ivorian Customs, General DA Pierre Alphonse, stressed the full commitment of the authorities to support the implementation of SEACOP to fight more effectively against trafficking by sea.
Several personalities also took part in the ceremony including the Secretary General of the Inter-ministerial Committee for the Fight against Drugs (CILAD), Pr KOUMA Yao Ronsard, the national focal point of the project in Côte d’Ivoire, the representative of the EU in Abidjan, Mrs Anne Catherine CLAUDE and the Deputy Regional Coordinator of SEACOP, Mr Akizi-Egnim Akala.
In her speech, Mrs Anne Cathérine welcomed the commitment of the authorities and encouraged them to formalise the signing of the SEACOP implementation protocol in Côte d’Ivoire and the administrative creation of the unit as soon as possible.
The UNODC AIRCOP project, CRESMAO, UCT and CAAT were also represented at the opening ceremony.
The training will take place over 5 days with theoretical aspects in the classroom and practical aspects on board the ships in the port of Abidjan.