Argentina joins SEACOP

In the beginning of May, Argentina signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the implementation of the Seaport Cooperation project (SEACOP). The agreement was finalised between the Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich, and the EU embassy, headed by François Roudie.

The objective of the project is to curtail drug trafficking, smuggling and all types of illegal traffic by sea in Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa to control the flow of illicit drugs that eventually reach Europe and North America.

To this end, the country will have an intelligence unit in permanent contact with the units of the other 26 members of SEACOP and the EU, with whom they will exchange encrypted information about the ships that transit through their ports, such as the passports of the crew, the detailed route that they did and the shipments they recorded.

In that sense, SEACOP will donate to the Argentine law enforcement agencies technological material that will allow a detailed scan of the boats in full, including double bottoms, where illegal shipments are usually stored. In addition, the necessary equipment will be provided to access these places.

On the other hand, the federal forces will receive training, as well as the Customs personnel, which was not contemplated, but after a request from the Argentine government was incorporated into the agreement. This illustrates the importance of including Customs, as they can access the containers without judicial authorization.

According to the government, the MoU will allow a comprehensive control in ports, “especially from Bahia Blanca to the South,” which in recent years were “out of control.”

The plan may have an impact not only on cargo ships, but on any vessels which may carry suspect cargo. Argentina was the last country to join the project and is the first one that will hold the project’s first multilateral meeting of the year. In June, representatives of the program will meet in Buenos Aires for training sessions of intelligence units.