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International police to enhance collaboration on maritime piracy

afrol News, 18 September - Enhancing collaboration to find solutions to the challenge of investigating maritime piracy was the focus of an international meeting hosted by INTERPOL at its General Secretariat headquarters.

The two-day (16-17 September) working group meeting on Project Bada – which included some 30 representatives from 12 countries and three international bodies – heard that it had already seen 36 countries collaborate on information-sharing on pirates, with information on hundreds of individuals implicated in acts of maritime piracy now registered in INTERPOL’s global databases.

Opening the meeting, INTERPOL Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin said that maritime piracy was ‘a criminal phenomenon with a global magnitude’ which required countries to combine and co-ordinate their law enforcement efforts to identify those responsible and their modus operandi.

The meeting identified potential solutions to the challenges some of INTERPOL’s 187 member countries face in maximising international co-operation when investigating maritime piracy.

These initiatives included, increasing information-sharing among member countries and with INTERPOL’s General Secretariat on maritime piracy issues to enable further support to member countries in their investigations, enhancing co-operation mechanisms between the military and the police forces, identifying the ways and mechanisms in which INTERPOL can increase its operational support, by deploying, for example, INTERPOL Incident Response Teams (IRTs), and through regional capacity-building, including training and the further deployment of INTERPOL tools.

“It is essential for the law enforcement community to put in place a system which co-ordinates the systematic collection, exchange and comparison of information on pirates such as nominal information, fingerprints and DNA,” said Mr Louboutin.

“The role of the police is also vital in investigating financial transactions and to establish links with other types of crime benefitting from maritime piracy, such as money laundering and terrorism.

“It is clear that while a military response is necessary to intervene on the high seas against well-armed pirates, it is insufficient when it comes to investigating what is a form of organized crime,” warned Mr Louboutin.

INTERPOL actively collaborates with a dozen international and regional bodies against maritime piracy, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and Europol.

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