According to UNODC, an estimated 1125 tons of cocaine were produced in South America in 2015. The bulk of this cocaine is transported across the Atlantic on maritime vessels, mostly concealed within containers or on cargo vessels, fishing boats and yachts. Organised criminal groups continuously change their methods and transport routes.
This flexibility in transatlantic maritime trafficking is a fundamental reason why it is necessary to target all of the trans-regional trafficking routes between Latin America, Caribbean, West Africa and Europe in a consistent, coherent and simultaneous manner. The Seaport Cooperation Project (SEACOP) project was launched to enhance the capabilities of countries along the trans-Atlantic cocaine route and to support them in tackling maritime trafficking in an effective and coordinated manner.
SEACOP aims to reinforce capacities in seaports by supporting the setup of Joint Maritime Control Units (JMCUs) in selected countries in West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Activities also include the establishment of specialist Maritime Intelligence Units (MIUs) in seaports and sensitive coastal areas, and supporting greater international cooperation and information exchange. The project provides specialist search and intelligence training, along with equipment and IT tools necessary to effectively combat illicit maritime trafficking.
The project is implemented by a Consortium of EU Member States led by Expertise France.