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Spain intercepted more than 69 tonnes of drugs in vessel boardings in international waters during 2020

  • This is the highest number of narcotic substances seized since 2011 and triple the amount for 2019, according to the report prepared by the Ministry of Interior's Centre for Intelligence against Terrorism and Organised Crime (CITCO).
  • The Tax Agency’s Customs Surveillance Service, the National Police and the Guardia Civil carried out eighteen operations in the high seas, eleven of them with positive results.
  • From 2011 to 2020, Customs Surveillance and the State’s Security Forces carried out 129 vessel boardings in international waters enabling the seizure of 386 tonnes of drugs.

5 June 2021.-The Tax Agency’s Customs Surveillance and the State’s Security Forces and Corps intercepted more than 69 tonnes of narcotic substances during 2020 from 18 vessel boardings in international waters, more specifically in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean areas.A total of 63.6 tonnes of hashish and 5.4 tonnes of cocaine were seized.

This is the largest amount of drugs seized in this type of operation since 2011 and three times the amount seized in 2019.Overall, from 2011 to 2020, the Tax Agency’s Customs Surveillance, which is part of the Ministry of Finance and the State’s Security Forces, carried out 129 vessel boardings in international waters enabling the seizure of 386 tonnes of drugs.

The data are part of the 2020 balance sheet prepared by the Ministry of the Interior's Centre for Intelligence against Terrorism and Organised Crime (CITCO) on vessel boardings in international waters.These operations are covered by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, both ratified by Spain.

In 2020, Spain processed 27 vessel boarding applications, 18 of which were carried out, eleven with positive results and seven without detecting any of the banned substances.Nine other applications did not make it to the high seas for various reasons.

International law requires boarding authorisation from the countries whose flag the vessels under investigation are sailing under.Of those investigated, most of which were sailing vessels, eight were sailing under the Dutch flag.They are followed by the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium with three vessels each, and Togo and Panama with two each.

Film of the operation (go to the following website to download the video):

https://we.tl/t-p11ceDGgY1