The 2018 Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) Report highlights the UNODC’s recent efforts in tackling the activities of transnational organised crime at sea in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Indo-Pacific Ocean regions. These crimes are not limited to piracy and armed robbery at sea, but they also include human smuggling, drug-trafficking and terrorist activities.

To address these challenges, the GMCP supports national and international maritime authorities to detect and stop the crimes perpetuated off their coasts. Moreover, the, GMCP ensures that the law enforcement-judiciary chain in these countries is reinforced to properly address sea crimes from detection to sentencing. The programme’s most notable feature is the deployment of UNODC staff in member countries with the aim of providing direct support to coastguards, prosecutors and other stakeholders.

The 2018 Report sums up the activities of the GMCP undertaken in the Atlantic Ocean (GMCP-AO), the Horn of Africa (GMCP-HoA) and the Indian-Pacific Oceans (GMCP-IPO). The Atlantic Ocean team operates in Liberia, Ghana, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Among other activities taking place in 2018, the GMCP-AO focused on mentoring federal prosecutors in Nigeria to move a bill on piracy forward. In Senegal, the GMCP has been working as advisor to the national Navy in two boarding exercises, reinforcing the country’s capacity to tackle the trafficking of natural resources at sea. In addition, the GMCP-AO works closely on the display of information on fisheries crimes to law enforcement officers in the African partner countries on the Atlantic coast.

In the Indian Ocean, the GMCP-IPO efforts intensified following a diversification of the concept of maritime crime and the number of cases registered in 2018. The programme’s initiative Southern Route Partnership (SRP) was connected to the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar to further monitor maritime zones for drug traffic. Moreover, the GMCP-IPO organised two forums on information-sharing and problem solving bringing together Senior Prosecutors from the region in Seychelles and Kenya. In Kenya, the GMCP-IPO continues to support the construction of judicial infrastructures, and it has undertaken the construction works of a security court complex. Enhanced technologies and infrastructures are continuously offered to combat maritime crime (e.g. strengthening the police radio coverage in Maldives and the provision of four police patrol boats to the Bengali authorities). In the next years, the use of new technologies will particularly serve the improvement of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific Ocean region.

In the Pacific Ocean, the GMCP-IPO is relatively young but yet it successfully works to bettering the management and protection of maritime areas. In 2018, three Maritime Law Enforcement Dialogues (MLED) for Southeast Asia took place and discussed the challenges of cooperation against maritime crime. Moreover, the GMCP-IPO is engaged to support islands States to increase their MDA capabilities. As a result, the team provided expertise to a Pacific Island Forum with the aim of assessing the potential establishment of an information fusion centre in the Pacific. In the next years, the use of new technologies will particularly serve the improvement of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific ocean region.

In the Horn of Africa, the GMCP-HoA team is reportedly building capacities of the maritime law enforcement authorities with the aim of targeting human smuggling, piracy, terrorism and IUU fishing. Aiming the long-term effects of violent extremism prevention, the GMCP-HoA ensures that piracy suspects detained in Somaliland are treated according to international standards.  In 2018, the Mogadishu Maritime Police Units received several trainings and mentoring from the GMCP team, and the Programme kept supporting the construction of the prison and court complex in the Somali capital.

Overall the 2018 Report underlines how the GMCP has been carrying on its ambitious mission to improve rule of law at sea by supporting member states in a wide range of activities, both at sea and on land.