(INTERPOL) Marine Pollution Crime: First Global Multi-Agency Operation
“An international law enforcement operation against maritime pollution has revealed hundreds of violations and exposed serious cases of contamination worldwide. Codenamed 30 Days at Sea, the month-long (1-31 October) operation saw some 276 law enforcement and environmental agencies across 58 countries detect more than 500 offences, including illegal discharges of oil and garbage from vessels, shipbreaking, breaches of ship emissions regulations, and pollution on rivers and land-based runoff to the sea. Steered by a global network of 122 national coordinators, 30 Days at Sea involved environmental, maritime and border agencies, national police forces, customs, and port authorities. More than 5200 inspections have resulted in at least 185 investigations, with arrests and prosecutions anticipated.
‘Criminals believe marine pollution is a low-risk crime with no real victims. This is a mistake and one which INTERPOL and our partners are addressing as demonstrated by this operation,’ said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. ‘Marine pollution creates health hazards worldwide which undermine sustainable development and requires a multi-agency, multi-sector cooperative response within a solid global security architecture,’ added the INTERPOL Chief. Innovative technologies permitted authorities to detect offences, including the use of satellite images (in Argentina and Sweden), aerial surveillance (Canada and Italy), drones (Nigeria, Indonesia and Pakistan) and night vision cameras. In a shift towards prevention, visible surveillance technologies used in Qatar and Norway resulted in stricter compliance with regulations. UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim said that the issue of illegal marine pollution is one that global communities may well be able to tackle successfully in the next decade.”