On 7th January, Global Initiative published an article saying that, as is the case with legal global trade, a significant amount of illicit trade relies on modes of maritime transport.  Vessels – ranging from small wooden dhows to major container ships – participate either willingly or unwittingly in the worldwide transfer of anything from weapons and drugs to humans, wildlife and counterfeit goods.  But of specific concern is the increasing role played by fishing vessels in the global illicit infrastructure – with about 4.6 million fishing vessels worldwide, operated by an estimated 27 million mariners.  It warns that, as fish stocks become depleted, out-of-work fishermen are looking to the shadowy world of transnational organised crime to secure a livelihood.  Other types of smuggling are illustrated by the example that fishermen from Venezuela are using their vessels to smuggle guns to Trinidad, and diapers and baby formula back to Venezuela.  Fishing boats can also be used by terrorists, such as the effort by Shia rebels to arm several fishing vessels with RPG and carry out attacks in the Red Sea shipping channel.  There is also growing awareness of the use of slave labour on fishing vessels, but it is less known that vessels are also used to smuggle people into and out of countries.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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