SEACOP has been working in Jamaica since September 2017 when the first Joint Maritime Control Unit (JMCU) training course was delivered. This event established the SEACOP JMCU team in the country comprised of officers from the Jamaica Constabulary Force Marine Branch and the Jamaica Customs Agency.
In September 2018 SEACOP delivered a second JMCU mentoring in Jamaica. Trainers from the UK Border Force Agency travelled to Kingston to deliver this event over a 5 day period. The training focused on refreshing search techniques and aimed at enhancing team dynamics.
Jamaica has fully embraced the SEACOP project and the inter-agency concept. The JMCU team gets together regularly to provide deep rummage of vessels specifically selected by their sister team – the SEACOP Maritime Intelligence Unit (MIU).
During this mentoring event SEACOP also initiated its first JMCU exchange. The JMCU team leader from Antigua and Barbuda travelled to Jamaica to shadow the event. Working alongside the Jamaica JMCU team, under the supervision of the trainers he gained invaluable knowledge relating to the threat of maritime trafficking hoped to in turn enhance capacity within the Antigua and Barbuda team.
During the exercise the MIU profiled a cargo vessel of interest originating from Trinidad and Tobago, en route to Miami, via Jamaica. The JMCU team deployed prior to the vessel’s departure and a subsequent search resulted in a 2 kg cocaine seizure concealed onboard. As reported, the shape of the packages indicated that they had been body packed onto the vessel by a port worker or crew member, suggesting corruption at the port.
This seizure showcases the relevance of SEACOP, which continues to strengthen maritime interdiction capacities in the Caribbean. SEACOP remains committed to strengthening drug interdiction and profiling capacities in the region with additional training and mentoring events planned for 2019.