This edition, held on 26 October, discussed the events surrounding the interdiction of the Fishing Vessel Captain Winston west of the island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean Sea. A description was given of how this vessel had been identified as being suspected of being used for the transport of illegal narcotics and how cooperation across the region allowed the vessel to be tracked before finally being interdicted.
The description of the case also addressed the use of multiple flags in an attempt to avoid enforcement, the use of force to stop the vessel as well as the subsequent disappearance of one of the apprehended persons from aboard the arrested vessel.
In the ensuing discussions, the following points emerged:
– Regional cooperation is one of the most powerful tools available to suppress illegal trafficking of all kinds and is especially effective in cases where the cooperating partners have limited operational resources.
– How, when, to what degree and by whom the use of force may be authorised is a key consideration when establishing the procedures for interdicting vessels at sea. These decisions need to be made well in advance of an actual incident.
– The use of multiple flags by a suspect vessel can significantly complicate an enforcement operation and enforcement personnel need to be familiar with their rights and obligations in such cases.
– Once persons have been taken into custody, it is critical to ensure that every measure is put into place to ensure their safety and wellbeing despite the fact that they may be suspects in the commission of serious crimes.