In November 2018, UNODC organised a Ministerial and Senior Officials meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to address the threat of maritime drug trafficking (the Southern Route) which affects Mozambique, Seychelles South Africa and Tanzania as transit or destination countries.

Each of the countries affected along with UNODC (Global Maritime Crime Programme) met to explore ways, consider options, opportunities and gaps to criminally hold those who plan, arrange and conduct trafficking drugs by sea (termed as ‘legal finish’ by UNODC).

Based on the research and studies conducted by UNODC and its partners, the past 4 years has seen a decisive shift in drug trafficking routes from land to sea, as the former become less profitable for drug cartels. Moreover, the increased use of stateless vessels poses particular difficulties in any subsequent investigation and prosecution of the targets.

The carriage of goods by sea remains the most important means of international trade, accounting for around 80% by volume. It, therefore, provides the perfect corridor for transporting drugs from the state of origin to the various destination states in Europe and beyond. The Southern Route has become increasingly attractive for drug traffickers and according to the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme, Mozambique receives some 90% of the heroin from Afghanistan, while 10% finds its way into Tanzania.

Arvinder Sambei gave a presentation, and facilitated the discussions, on options for ‘legal finish’, jurisdictional and legal challenges, and possible ways forward.

Relevant links:

UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme:

Global Maritime Crime Programme Annual Report 2017:

Southern Route Partnership:

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