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 maritime 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), SEACOP V works with relevant authorities in these regions, in close cooperation with EU agencies fighting transnational crime and ensuring border security.
On 1 May 2021, the fifth phase of SEACOP was officially launched, under a consortium led by Expertise France in partnership with FIIAPP. Building on the achievements of the four previous phases, SEACOP V has an ambitious vision for its 30 months of implementation, which includes a more comprehensive scope of action, the development of new partnerships with local and regional actors and the integration of several new countries into its target areas.
Under the umbrella of the Global Illicit Flows Programme of the European Union, SEACOP V will work towards three specific objectives:
► To reinforce the effectiveness of the SEACOP maritime intelligence and maritime/riverine control network geographically and technically;
► To sustainably integrate knowledge and knowhow on maritime threats and interdictions emanating from the transatlantic illicit trafficking routes into national and regional curricula;
► To improve cooperation and information sharing at national, regional and transregional level, including with EU home affairs agencies.
SEACOP V is implemented with the support of CIVIPOL (France), Policia Judiciaria (Portugal), United Kingdom Border Force – UKBF (UK), French Customs – DGDDI (France), Directorate of Security and Defense Cooperation – DCSD (France), Maritime Analysis and Operation Centre – Narcotics – MAOC(N), National Crime Agency – NCA (UK) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – FRONTEX.