The trafficking of illicit goods -including drugs- is an international phenomenon with a devastating impact on social and economic development as well as on public health.
The transatlantic axis, which stretches from Latin America via the Caribbean and West Africa to Europe, is a major route for these illicit flows.
Orchestrated by transnational criminal groups operating across several continents and often involved in other criminal activities (e.g.: kidnapping, money laundering, etc), illicit goods trafficking is a source of instability, which undermines governance and endangers post-conflict transition.
The bulk of illicit goods are transported by sea, mostly concealed among legitimate cargo within containers or on cargo vessels, as well as on fishing boats and yachts. Inadequate port controls and general institutional weakness facilitate criminal activity and enable the intersection of illicit flows connecting ports in South America to ports in Africa and Europe that promote criminal networking.
This flexibility in transatlantic maritime trafficking is a fundamental reason why it is necessary to target trans-regional trafficking routes between Latin America, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe in a consistent, coherent and simultaneous manner.
In response, as part of the EU’s Global Illicit Flows Programme (GIFP), the Seaport Cooperation Project – works with relevant authorities in these regions, in close cooperation with EU agencies fighting transnational crime and ensuring border security.
SEACOP aims to contribute to the fight against maritime illicit trade and associated criminal networks in the targeted countries and regions of Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa, consistent with human rights, in order to alleviate its negative impact on security, public health and socio-economic development.
It does so by
- Reinforcing the effectiveness of the SEACOP maritime intelligence and maritime/riverine control network geographically and technically
- Sustainably integrating knowledge and knowhow on maritime threats and interdictions emanating from the transatlantic illicit trafficking routes into national and regional curricula
- Improving cooperation and information sharing at national, regional and transregional level, including with EUROPOL and FRONTEX.
The project is implemented by a Consortium of EU Member States led by Expertise France.