CRIMARIO organised seventeen exercises in 2023, enhancing partners’ collective response capabilities and operational readiness in various maritime scenarios. Building on this success and understanding, CRIMARIO organised a virtual maritime domain awareness exercise in Latin America from 18 to 22 March of this year.

The Tabletop / Command Post Exercise involved Colombia (Navy, Pacific and Caribbean Commands), Ecuador (Coastguard, Navy), France (Navy, Pacific command), and Peru (Coastguard) and focused on detecting and sharing information on ships involved in the transportation of narcotics and ensuing actions (i.e., interdiction, interception, handover, etc).

The counter-narcotics oriented scenario was organised over several time zones between the Latin-American countries (UTC-5) and the French territories in the Pacific (UTC-10). It also had to trigger several “Article 17 procedures” [1] from the four playing countries.

Exemplary cooperation between countries, separated by more than 3,000 Nautical Miles, led to all ships being intercepted and boarded during the exercise, with the exception of one vessel (SIEMPRE MI ARCA), which was expected to return to the pier.

IORIS was once again valued as an efficient tool to facilitate communication and coordination, its integrated translation functions were particularly useful in this case as well.

Thanks to the exercise, all participants practiced interagency coordinated responses at national and regional levels and the Law of the Sea, including Article 17 of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

The participants expressed their appreciation for the exercise, which allowed them to implement practice intelligence and operational coordination at a tactical level.


[1] United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988: This convention aims to establish effective control measures to prevent and penalize drug trafficking while ensuring the availability of such substances for scientific and medical purposes. Article 17 of this convention specifically deals with the Illicit Traffic by Sea, establishing measures to cooperate closely to suppress illicit traffic by sea, in conformity with the international law of the sea.