The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has called on the shipping industry to take collective responsibility to curb the scourge of illicit drug trafficking worldwide.
According to research, nearly 90% of all cocaine, 45% of all cannabis, and 30% of all amphetamine-type stimulants seized globally during January 2017 to April 2020 were trafficked via sea, despite the best efforts of the shipping industries to combat this activity.
“We all share a collective responsibility to assist in combatting this illegal traffic,” says the ICS in its latest publication, Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse On Board Ship: Guidelines for Owners and Masters on Preparation, Prevention, Protection and Response.
“The global value of the drugs trade is estimated at US$ 426 billion, and the problems from illicit drug trafficking continue to expand and diversify,” says Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping. “Traffickers use shipping as a vector for their illicit cargoes as ships present opportunities for high-volume movements from producing to consuming countries. Drug traffickers exploit society’s need to move goods and people across frontiers, and shipping is a key mode in that transport chain. We all share a collective responsibility to assist in combatting this illegal traffic and this latest publication ensures that shipowners and Masters are fully briefed on the best practices to combat this criminal trade.”
The new guidelines also take into account the impact and implications of the Covid-19 pandemic which has had an ongoing effect on drug trafficking and drug abuse, due to the changing nature of the management of national borders and the alteration of established behaviours.
They explore all aspects of protection in port facilities, along with areas of cooperation between ports and ships that can help prevent drug trafficking from taking place.