Onderwerp: Bezoek-historie

228(82) Guidelines for the prevention of smuggling of drugs.
Geldigheid:01-04-2007 t/m Status: Geldig vandaag

Dit onderwerp bevat de volgende rubrieken.

Revised guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international maritime traffic


RECALLING Article 28(b) of the Convention on the International Maritime Organization concerning the functions of the Maritime Safety Committee,

RECALLING that the 2002 SOLAS Conference adopted resolution 3 on Further work by the International Maritime Organization pertaining to the enhancement of maritime security, which, in operative paragraph 1(h), invited the Organization to review resolution A.872(20) on Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international traffic (the Guidelines) and, if necessary, to develop appropriate amendments thereto,

MINDFUL that United Nations Security Council resolutions 1373(2001) and 1456(2003) have, inter alia, noted with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and illegal arms trafficking; and have emphasized the need to enhance co-ordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to these serious threats to international security,

MINDFUL ALSO of the work conducted by other United Nations agencies and international organizations, such as the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Nations Interregional Criminal Justice Research Institute, Interpol and the World Customs Organization, to assist States to combat international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and illegal arms trafficking through provision of guidance and capacity-building activities,

RECALLING ALSO resolution A.985(24) adopted by the Assembly, at its twenty-fourth regular session, by which the Assembly, inter alia, authorized the Facilitation Committee and the Maritime Safety Committee to adopt jointly the necessary amendments to the Guidelines and to promulgate them by appropriate means,

NOTING that the Facilitation Committee, at its thirty-fourth session, is expected to adopt the Revised Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international maritime traffic through which it will adopt identical amendments to the Guidelines,

  1. ADOPTS the Revised Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international traffic, set out in the Annex to the present resolution;

  2. URGES Member Governments to implement the Revised Guidelines as from 1 April 2007;

  3. INVITES ALSO Member Governments and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO to circulate the Revised Guidelines as widely as possible in order to ensure their widespread promulgation and implementation and to bring them in particular to the attention of harbour masters, shipping companies, ship operators and managers, shipmasters and other parties concerned;

  4. FURTHER INVITES, where appropriate, Member Governments to consider amending their national legislation to give full and complete effect to the Revised Guidelines; 

  5. REQUESTS ALSO the Assembly to endorse the action taken by the Maritime Safety Committee and the Facilitation Committee and to revoke resolution A.872(20).

001 Preamble


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) proposes the following "Revised Guidelines for the prevention and suppression of the smuggling of psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals on ships engaged in international maritime traffic", harmonized with international instruments and recommendations issued by various international bodies such as IMO, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), their purpose being to strike a balance between facilitation of international trade and management of security, thus helping to prevent drug-trafficking activities.

The ultimate aim is to comply with United Nations Security Council resolution 1373(2001), whose paragraph 4 refers to the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money laundering and illicit arms trafficking, and highlights the need for closer co-operation at national, subregional, regional and international levels so as to strengthen the international response to terrorism and serious threats to international security, and also with resolution 1456(2003), which reaffirms the duty to prevent terrorists from making use of other criminal activities such as transnational organized crime, illicit drugs and drug trafficking, and other criminal activities.

The purpose of these Guidelines is thus to establish basic procedures, not only for detecting drugs on board, but also for making prevention the principal means of ensuring that the scourge of drug trafficking does not damage the world's economy and wellbeing through attacks on international maritime trade.

In this regard, it is worthwhile recalling the work done by States and international organizations to tackle drug trafficking, which is reflected in international instruments that are now gaining unequivocal international acceptance.

To illustrate this point, there follows a brief summary of the various international efforts to tackle drug trafficking, some of which address the close links with international maritime transport.

In general terms, the most important of these are the International Opium Conventions (The Hague, 1912, and Geneva, 1925), the Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs (Geneva, 1931), the Convention for the Suppression of Illicit Traffic in Dangerous Drugs (Geneva, 1936), the New York Protocol of 1946 amending most of the above-mentioned instruments, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (New York, 1961) and its amending Protocol of 1972, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (Vienna, 1971) and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Vienna, 1988; this shows how the legal treatment of this matter has developed over time, as well as the international response to an activity that has a direct impact on society.)

The latter - the Vienna Convention of 19881- can now be said to have gained a large measure of acceptance in the international community, following a full examination and review of its provisions to take into account the prevention and eradication of illicit drug trafficking. Implementation of these Guidelines will thus require a general knowledge of the Vienna Convention. In this regard, special attention should be paid to the following articles of the Convention: 3. Offences and sanctions; 5. Confiscation; 9. Other forms of co-operation and training; 12. Substances frequently used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; 13. Materials and equipment; 15. Commercial carriers; 16. Commercial documents and labelling of exports; 17. Illicit traffic by sea; 18. Free trade zones and free ports;
20. Information to be furnished by the Parties.
It is also important to bear in mind the bilateral agreements concluded between States on the subject of preventing and controlling illicit drug trafficking, many of which draw on the international agreements mentioned above.

Furthermore, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)2 is fundamentally important to application of the Guidelines, especially its emphasis on the principle of co-operation as the prerequisite for achieving common objectives on the basis of shared responsibility, since action against drugs is ultimately a joint responsibility requiring an integrated and balanced approach.

However, as stated at the outset, mankind is today confronted with a set of variables which radically affect development, trade and world economies, and factors such as drug trafficking and terrorism threaten the facilitation of global maritime trade. It is pertinent to highlight the direct link between these factors and positive responses such as the new provisions in chapter XI-2 of SOLAS, the ISPS Code developed by IMO, the "ILO/IMO Code of Practice on Security in Ports""  and the "WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade" (SAFE Framework of Standards).

Familiarity with the content of these documents is advisable for implementing the Guidelines; they should be regarded as complementing and extending the Guidelines when dealing with the areas of harmonization of procedures, flexible dealings in maritime transport, and security for seafarers, shore-based personnel, port facilities and ships; their ultimate aim is to help achieve the balance between security and facilitation.

It is likewise worth recalling that at a diplomatic conference convened by IMO in 2002 new provisions to the SOLAS Convention were adopted, together with the ISPS Code, for the sole and specific purpose of significantly enhancing maritime security through the efforts of governments and private companies. The new provisions in the Code undoubtedly provide a solid basis for international co-operation between ships and port facilities to prevent and identify acts that threaten the security of maritime transport. The new chapter XI-2 of SOLAS and the ISPS Code require ships, companies and port facilities to comply with provisions for enhancing maritime safety and security, and above all to protect those persons engaged in maritime activities, whether on land or at sea.

Because the ISPS Code provides for effective co-operation and understanding between all the actors involved in maritime transport, namely the authorities and national, regional and local governments, and thus also masters, crews, passengers, shipowners, shipping agents and port administrations, it may be regarded as another element supporting application of the Guidelines, since co-operation among the various actors and among those for whom they are responsible can contribute to effective application. Here, it is worthwhile mentioning the threat to security posed by drug smuggling. Although the Code makes no mention of terms such as drug trafficking, drugs or narcotics, it is not difficult to see illicit drug trafficking in terms of a genuine threat to security. One has only to imagine what lies behind this trade: arms, easy money, illicit goods, robbery, kidnapping and terrorist attacks to name only some aspects.

The "ILO/IMO Code of Practice on Security in Ports", seeks to integrate aspects of security, safety and health in ports and terminals. The Code of Practice complements the international efforts to support IMO's work on maritime security, by offering a method for identifying weaknesses in port security, so as to establish security measures designed to prevent, detect and respond to illicit acts against ports used for international maritime traffic; however, it is equally the case that the recommendations can be used as the basis for action designed to protect maritime operations and ports in the national context.

In this respect, the Code of Practice elaborates on issues relating to security, beyond the scope of port facilities to the port as a whole; the provisions of the ISPS Code set out the requirements relating only to ship security and the direct interface between the ship and the port facility, but are still compatible with the Code of Practice. This is why it is stipulated that the port facility security assessment and the port facility protection plan must take into account the security measures in place at port facilities - the importance of a link between each facility and the rest of the port is therefore emphasized.

Equally, emphasis is placed on training and awareness in relation to security, as basic factors for effectively carrying out an adequate port security strategy.

With regard to integrating the Code of Practice and these Guidelines, it is emphasized that any security measures brought into effect must focus on preventing the fraudulent introduction of contraband, medicines, narcotics, other illegal substances and prohibited materials, with the overall objective of maintaining an acceptable standard at all security levels.

The recommendations in the Code of Practice are not concerned solely with defining the factors to take into account in evaluating and implementing security plans; they also draw attention to the fact that Member States must prepare a "policy statement on port safety", which should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect changes in these and related activities that take place in them. This statement must specify the measures taken by the Member State to promote regional and international co-operation, acknowledgement of the importance of the human element, and interdependence between security and public safety, economic development and marine environment protection.

Last, but no less important, is the "SAFE Framework of Standards", which begins by stating that world trade is the basis for economic prosperity but is also vulnerable to being used for terrorist acts that can disrupt the global economy. Accordingly, the document sets forth basic minimum principles and standards for action by WCO Members aimed at securing the flow of global trade and facilitating the movement of goods.

The SAFE Framework of Standards describes the work of customs services as an important contribution to safety and the facilitation of world trade and emphasizes their importance in developing integrated management of the logistical chain, facilitating trade, enhancing reliability and predictability, tackling the challenges of the twenty-first century, strengthening co-operation between customs services and companies, and reforming internal co-operation so as to enhance capacity.

The SAFE Framework of Standards provides a scheme made up of four basic elements which are fully complementary with IMO's work on facilitation of international maritime traffic. These are harmonization of requirements relating to electronic information, a consistent focus on risk analysis in safety matters, inspection of high-risk containers and cargo destined for abroad using non-intrusive methods as far as possible, and a focus on the commercial benefits to be obtained from applying and complying with minimum standards of safety in the logistical chain.

The basic aim of the SAFE Framework of Standards is to see how, using methods built around two pillars of collaboration, the basic elements can be brought to bear in order to benefit world trade. These two types of collaboration are described as Customs-Customs and Customs- Business; if these are developed to the full, they can stimulate world trade, ensure greater security against terrorism, improve the contribution that customs services and commercial partners make to the economic and social wellbeing of States, strengthen the ability of customs services to detect, dispatch and manage high-risk consignments through more efficient handling of goods, and eliminate duplication and multiple requests for submission of reports.

It is thus important to revise the "Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals on Ships engaged in International Maritime Traffic" in the light of the WCO Framework of Standards as well, because the Framework emphasizes the IMO theme of facilitation on principle, in particular the notion of co-operation and prevention, and also establishes criteria for granting companies within the logistical chain official status as collaborators in security-related tasks. These criteria concern analysis of risk assessment, security plans adjusted to risk assessments, communication plans, measures to prevent irregular or undocumented goods from entering the international logistical chain, physical security of buildings and premises used for loading or storage, cargo and container security, security of means of transport, control of personnel, and security of information systems.

Finally, it is important to bear in mind that most drug seizures worldwide and a considerable proportion of drug smuggling occurs by sea. For this reason, all efforts to prevent illicit trafficking on board any kind of ship and to monitor routinely for diversion of chemical products must ensure that risks are reduced and that, at all costs, difficult situations for ship, master, crew and cargo do not arise. Three principal factors should be borne in mind when considering the implications of illicit drug trafficking for commercial means of transport:

The very high value of drugs when smuggled in large quantities has attracted the major international criminal organizations and terrorist groups. The possibility of violent incidents, including armed assault, on discovering any sizeable quantity of drugs should not be overlooked and, consequently, due precautions should always be taken.
The professional trafficker rarely carries the drugs himself and usually finds an accomplice to do so. Merchant seamen are frequently targeted by drug traffickers anxious to get their products from producing to consuming countries. Often the seafarers are not fully aware of the risks involved, which include long prison sentences and, in some countries, the death penalty.
There are no "safe" shipping routes where operators can be quite certain that there are no illicit substances on their ships. Direct sailings from countries of supply to countries of consumption are clearly considered as a risk and receive special attention from customs authorities. However, increasing quantities of drugs are being moved by roundabout and circuitous routes, using ports in countries which are not drug producers which drug traffickers believe invite less risk of interception in countries of destination.

These Guidelines provide genral advice that may give guidance to shipowners, seafarers and others closely involved with the operation of ships. Their aim is to help shipping companies, operators and managers, ships' masters and officers to prevent and combat illicit drug trafficking and to recognize the main symptoms of drug dependence among crew members. On the basis of these Guidelines, shipowners may wish to examine the possibility of adopting or improving procedures aimed at preventing drug trafficking offences and the diversion of chemical products aboard their ships. Such procedures will necessarily vary from one ship to another, depending on the types of ship, their cargo and the routes they serve.

Shipping is vulnerable to drug trafficking on two fronts. First, the threat of drugs being concealed on vessels means that law enforcement efforts by the competent Authorities of each State may result in long delays to the departure of ships, especially cargo ships. Secondly, the possible involvement of crew members in drug use threatens the safety of the vessel.

The essential and basic way to create a united front against drug trafficking and drug dependence on ships and among their crews is education, training, appropriate personnel selection, and assistance for ships' crews. Without these, it is impossible to create awareness among the crew and achieve the genuine commitment from the company and the ship that will ensure transparency and fairness in the ship's operations.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge the invaluable information obtained from the Internet sites and written documents of the International Narcotics Control Board, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the European Union, the Organization of American States (OAS), and the records of the inter-American courses on port security held by the OAS, which provided the raw material for preparation of these Guidelines.

1. The Vienna Convention of 20 December 1988 came into international force on 11 December 1990.
By January 2006 it had 179 States Parties, including 87 signatories.

2. UNCLOS, 1982, article 108:

"1. All States shall co-operate in the suppression of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances engaged in by ships on the high seas contrary to international conventions.
2. Any State which has reasonable grounds for believing that a ship flying its flag is engaged in illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances may request the co-operation of other States to suppress such traffic."

01 Chapter Prevention of illicit trafficking of drugs

Prevention of illict tafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances

Prevention is one of the most important aspects where illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs is concerned; it should involve all who belong to the maritime sector, increasing their awareness of the scale of the global drug-trafficking problem and encouraging them to contribute to the international efforts to detect and eliminate narcotic drugs trafficking and psychotropic substances.
Likewise, part of prevention involves enhancing the safety and security arrangements for boarding points, ports, port facilities and ships, and supporting co-ordinated action among the competent authorities in port, particularly those operating at the ship-port interface. This is an area in which it is becoming even more important to develop the mentality, based on facilitation, co-operation and training needed to inform relations between those authorities, the shipping companies and the crews, if the best possible overall outcome of a protected port, including control of illicit trafficking, is to be achieved.

However, it is important to strike a balance between control and facilitation, as too much control would hamper normal international trading of legal cargoes, causing unnecessary delays for both ships and port facilities, and insufficient control would lead to increased drug trafficking.

01 Competent authority procedures

1 Competent authority procedures

1.1 Action by officers of the competent authorities

1.1 Action by officers of the competent authorities
Officers of the competent Authorities have certain duties to fulfil with respect to all vessels arriving from and departing for foreign countries and normally seek to establish friendly co-operation with ships' officers and crews. Their training should prepare them to respect the ship as the seafarer's home, and to recognize that crew members wish to do their work without interference and without shipboard life being disturbed more than necessary.

It is important that the officers of the competent Authorities receive any co-operation and information that any crew member can provide to eliminate drug trafficking. Information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and will be investigated without delay.

Some Authorities of the coastal State are empowered by law to board3 without the permission of the flag State any ships not entitled to sovereign immunity within their ports or transiting or remaining in its territorial sea and to inspect and examine any part and open any closed place or container suspected of concealing contraband whether or not keys are available. Some Authorities may also be empowered to exercise, in the contiguous zone, the control necessary to prevent, inter alia, infringement of the coastal States customs, laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea. Such procedures vary according to the legislation in different countries. The Authorities of the coastal State may also be empowered to board and search foreign flag suspect ships located seaward of the territorial sea/contiguous zone with the permission of the flag State.

Questions asked about possible actions by officers of the competent Authorities in relation to the ship include the following:

Can officers of the competent Authorities board the vessel?

Most national legislation provides that any officer of the competent Authorities may board the ship at any time while it is within the limits of a port or within territorial waters. Ship security plans may not be used by the competent Authorities as grounds for access to the ship or to any place in it.

Can officers of the competent Authorities search the ship?

Most national legislation allows specified officers of the competent Authorities to search any part of the ship. They are also permitted, by law, to remain on the ship while the necessary searches are made. In certain areas of the vessel for example cargo spaces, void cargo spaces, sensitive electronic equipment, etc., where they will need advice, crew assistance, it may be necessary to use special clothing or equipment to conduct a search. Officers of the competent Authorities are to be informed of such areas on boarding. Such officers should respect the need to comply with the requirements of the ship security plan where this does not conflict with their operational tasks and legal right of access.

Can ships on which illicit drugs are found be seized by officers of the competent Authorities?

Under certain national legislation, some ships used to carry goods subject to seizure may also be seized under the relevant legislation. Sanctions may be imposed on a vessel whose responsible officers (i.e. the master, officers and engineers, manager or owner of a vessel) are involved, either through their acts or through failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid any member of the crew under their supervision engaging in illicit drug trafficking.

Does a proper gangway have to be provided for access to the vessel?

Most legislation requires officers of the competent Authorities to be provided with safe means of access to and exit from the vessel. These officers'  requirements  must be complied with immediately, provided that they are reasonable in the circumstances.

What power does an officer of the competent Authority have when searching a vessel?

The law may permit subject to the powers of individual authorities within national law an officer of the competent Authority to have free access to every part of the ship and its cargo.
Additionally he may:

  1. mark, or cause to be marked, any goods before loading;
  2. lock up, seal, mark or secure any goods carried in the ship, or in any place, or in any container;
  3. break open any place or container which is locked if the keys are withheld or otherwise unavailable.

Such officers of the competent Authorities may have authority to:

  1. board or search ships when these actions are necessary to suppress illicit trafficking by sea;
  2. arrest any offender and may impose sanctions or fines, and order arrest, unless otherwise laid down in the legislation of the country.

When officers of the competent Authorities take legal proceedings, the master and other
responsible parties may be held criminally liable, as appropriate under national law.

3. See MSC/Circ.1156: Guidance on the access of public authorities, emergency response services and pilots on board ships to which SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code apply.

1.2 Information about the crew

1.2 Information about the crew
Ships' masters may be asked to comply with any reasonable request by the competent Authority for important information which may be available concerning one or more individual crew members. Although there may be criminal liability, co-operation and the value of the information supplied by the master may be mitigating factors with regard to the ship's liability. 

On the arrival of the vessel, officers of the competent Authority should, where practicable, be notified of the fact that one or more crew members have left or joined the ship in that port. It is important to bear in mind that prior to a "free pratique" visit, where applicable, no crew member may leave the ship.

Officers of the competent Authorities should be provided with any information on the cargo and the crew before the ship's arrival4.

In no circumstances should the officers of the competent authorities abuse the powers conferred upon them by the legislation that governs their functions. Any instance of lack of integrity on the part of such officers anywhere in the world should be reported to the national authorities and the flag states.

On request, the competent Authorities will advise shipowners and masters of high risk ports.
Customs authorities should designate specific contact points in ports for reporting drug-related incidents.

4. See MSC/Circ.1130: Guidance to masters, Companies and duly authorized officers on the requirements relating to the submission of security-related information prior to the entry of a ship into port.

1.3 Action by Companies

1.3 Action by Companies
Whenever practicable, Companies should be prepared to assist the competent Authorities in suitable training on methods of searching the type of ships operated by the company.

Details including drawings of any recent structural repair, major remodelling or refit of the vessel (interior or exterior) should be made available in case they are required by the competent Authorities.

Companies should normally allow competent Authorities access to commercial information on ships and their cargo, especially changes of destination, consignee, etc.

Companies should assist in training officers of the competent Authorities on the use of container routes, cargo and information systems or provide the competent Authorities with appropriate access to such systems.

1.4 Cargo security

1.4 Cargo security
In preparing the cargo handling procedures and their security plans, Companies and port facilities may request the competent Authorities for assistance in providing information and expert advice to their staff responsible for security, cargo handling and documentation, in order to train them to recognize and report cases where the circumstances are suspicious, such as discrepancies in weight, losses, inconsistencies in payments, make-up of bales, route, anomalies in documentation or any other inconsistency.

Such plans and procedures should include provisions for notification of competent authorities of any security breaches or cargo security concerns.

1.5 Security in the port facility

1.5 Security in the port facility
Port facilities and locations covered by approved port facility security plans should implement security procedures in accordance with the provisions of the ISPS Code. Port facilities and other locations, for example fixed and floating platforms, not covered by port facility security plans approved by the Contracting Government concerned, should establish appropriate measures to enhance the security of ships interfacing with them, in accordance with 2002 SOLAS Conference resolution 7 on Establishment of appropriate measures to enhance the security of ships, port facilities, mobile offshore drilling units on location and fixed and floating platforms not covered by chapter XI-2 of the 1974 SOLAS Convention. Such measures may include:

  1. The control of access by private vehicles to cargo stores and loading services.

  2. Having a list of all vehicles and persons with regular authorized access to cargo stores and port services, and making this list available to the competent Authorities.

  3. Restricting parking of all vehicles to a designated area, remote from the active loading areas.

  4. Any vehicle authorized to enter at one time to cargo stores or loading services must be issued with a dated entry pass and parking should be restricted to designated areas. The pass numbers should be recorded and made available to the competent Authorities if required.

  5. When the port facility or ship has electronic security systems, such as closed circuit television covering the cargo holding or loading area, the systems must be accessible to the competent Authorities, if they so request.

  6. Access to cargo and loading areas should only be permitted to authorized persons and vehicles showing the correct identification.

  7. All these precautions and actions should be harmonized, to the extent possible, with the relevant measures in the ship security plan.

1.6 General security

1.6 General security
The ship security officer and/or the company security officer must periodically carry out reviews of the control and security measures in their ports of call and take measures to report them to the port facility security officer and/or competent Authority of the port concerned. The review should focus specifically on those measures designed to restrict access of unauthorized persons, cargoes and/or provisions to the vessel, services and cargoes.

The Company security officer should notify the competent Authorities when employees discover suspect packages or unjustified cargoes on the ship or outside it. Suspect packages should be kept under observation while the competent Authorities are notified.

The Company security officer should send warning signals to ships and loading services, with the description of internal sanctions and/or measures  applied to employees in confirmed cases of drug trafficking or abuse, with general reference to the severe penalties imposed by the competent Authorities throughout the world for drug-related offences.

The Company  should provide the competent Authorities with information on stevedoring companies which provide services to its ships in the respective ports, and identify companies which provide ship-related services.

The Company should, to the extent possible, take all the precautions necessary when recruiting new employees to work on their ships, to check that none of them has been convicted of drug trafficking or has a history of drug abuse.

1.7 Personnel security

1.7 Personnel security
The Company security officer and where applicable the ship security officer should allow only authorized and duly identified employees to handle operational information about the cargo or the ship.

The Company security officer and the ship security officer  should involve the competent Authorities in educating its personnel in identifying areas where exceptions to normal commercial practice may suggest the possibility of a drug-related offence.

The relevant company personnel should be trained to recognize signs that an employee may be likely to commit drug-related offences and in the measures to be taken when suspicion is aroused.

1.8 General

1.8 General
The Company should provide clearly identified and easily accessible local contact points for all matters shown to be of legal interest to the competent Authorities, such as cargo lists, passenger reservations, cargo routes, employee information, etc.

Companies should notify all employees or agents involved in ship or cargo operations, ashore and on board, of the content of these matters and give them instructions to carry them out in line with Company policy.

Companies should encourage constant and open exchange of information with the competent Authorities.
Companies and the competent Authorities, together with other bodies involved in commercial transactions, should regularly discuss matters of mutual interest, both locally and nationally.

Companies should seek advice from the competent Authorities concerning the provision of suitable assistance and educational material, so that the company security officer or ship security officer can:

  1. list the illicit trafficking of drugs in their ship's security assessments as a threat;

  2. develop procedures in ships' security plans for preventing illicit trafficking of drugs; and

  3. implement those plans.

Companies should endeavour to educate their personnel, both ashore and on board, in the dangers of drug abuse and ways of identifying illicit substances.

02 Possibility of illicit loading onto ships

2 Possibility of illicit loading onto ships

The procedures  necessary to prevent illicit drugs being concealed on board vessels clearly depends on the level and nature of the risk. Carriers need to assess the threat and identify their vulnerability.
Factors which need to be taken into account include:

  1. ports of call and routes taken by the vessel;

  2. the origin and routeing of the cargo;

  3. the level of control exercised at port facilities;

  4. the degree of control exercised regarding access to the ship; and

  5. the vulnerability of the crew to pressure by drug traffickers.

Today's traffickers use a wide variety of routes, often transhipping the cargo several times until its country of origin is completely obscured. Few ports can now be considered safe from attempts to place drugs and other illicit substances on board, although ports in producing countries remain those in which the vessel is most at risk.

Ships are vulnerable to being used as a conduit for the movement of drugs:

  1. in cars, freight vehicles, trailers, etc.;

  2. by visitors to the vessel;

  3. in luggage placed in a baggage trolley;

  4. in ship's stores;

  5. by contractors' personnel (for example repair or cleaning gangs);

  6. as part of crew effects;

  7. concealed on or in the vessel;'s machinery or hull; and

  8. in cargo or in the structure of cargo containers or packing.

In such cases, the trafficker may have the unwitting assistance of innocent people. Trafficking on commercial vessels can therefore be conducted by:

2.1 Overt or covert entry and concealment of drugs within the ship

2.1 Overt or covert entry and concealment of drugs within the ship
The trafficker can board the ship, conceal a package and disembark before its discovery.

2.2 Indirect entry and concealment of drugs within the ship

2.2 Indirect entry and concealment of drugs within the ship
The trafficker may use some convenient means of concealing and smuggling his illicit package on board (for example in cargo, its packing or containers, some item of passenger or crew baggage, in a carton of fresh provisions or in a box of machine spares). Such an exercise generally puts all the risk of detection on to an innocent third party.

2.3 Conspiracy to insert and conceal drugs

2.3 Conspiracy to insert and conceal drugs within the ship
This will involve one or more members of the ships' crew or shore staff. For example: crane operator and crew member in the bridge-house during loading and unloading.

2.4 Concealment of drugs

2.4 Concealment of drugs on the outside of the ship
Major drug movements can be carried out by a diver reaching the vessel's hull, either from another vessel or underwater, and securing a package to the ship's hull or to a main intake, a propeller bracket or a rudder fitting. Such attempts require considerable knowledge and technical skill and are only undertaken by the more sophisticated traffickers. This form of illicit trafficking is more likely in drug producing areas, which are also the areas of greatest risk.

03 Company roles

3 Company roles in overall ship securtity

Overall responsibility for the security of a ship, and the people on it, rests with the master. It is difficult for any organization to provide absolute security in every circumstance since commercial considerations, such as the need to continue operating and the cost of such a measure, have to be borne in mind. Security measures inevitably become a compromise between what is desirable and what is practicable in the circumstances.

Security measures, however, should relate directly to the level and nature of the risk of illicit drug trafficking in any particular location. The risk in the ports visited by ships needs to be reviewed regularly by both the company and the master, with the security measures being adjusted as appropriate.

Good security involves a readiness to accept that risks exist, perhaps involving employees, and that arrangements might be necessary to counter them.

Companies through the company security officer should consider:

3.1 Education and training of crew

3.1 Education and training of crew
Although security is the responsibility of all crew members, they are likely to be more security conscious and vigilant if the principles of good security, and the risks of becoming involved in drug trafficking or abuse, are explained. A continuous and thorough training and education programme can support measures taken to safeguard overall ship security.

The whole crew in accordance with their rank and duties should receive appropriate training in accordance with the provisions of the ISPS Code, STCW Convention, STCW Code and relevant MSC circulars issued by the organization.

This training must include drills and exercises carried out at appropriate intervals taking into account the ship type, ship personnel changes, port facilities to be visited and other relevant circumstances.

3.2 Liaison between competent Authorities at the port and the Company

3.2 Liaison between competent Authorities at the port and the Company
Good communication and liaison with competent Authorities at the port in regular ports of call is essential since it will provide local "intelligence", contacts and guidance, and assistance in all aspects of threat assessment.  This contact and communication in ports is done by the ship security officer or the Company security officer.

3.3 Awareness of the risk

3.3 Awareness of the risk of illicit trafficking
The threat of illicit drug trafficking in different ports of the world varies. The Company therefore needs to consider the threat in relation to each port of call. The Company's shore staff at each port should also be made aware of the risk and ways in which they can assist in combating it. Such reviews should be discussed with the competent Authorities at the port at both ends of the trade in which the vessel is engaged.

3.4 Review of ship security

3.4 Review of ship security
In the light of a carrier's assessment of the threat to its operations, a continuous review of the evaluation and the security plan measures currently in force  should be carried out, since this might reveal areas where additional measures are necessary.

3.5 Personnel available for ship security

3.5 Personnel available for ship security
Company personnel, ashore and afloat, are vital to the operation of a good security system, whether or not they are directly employed in security functions.

Drug traffickers generally carry out a reconnaissance of potential smuggling opportunities for whatever type of operation they are planning. An unsecured vessel or cargo compound is more likely to be targeted than an obviously protected one and traffickers are deterred by visible security arrangements. A ship whose crew is obviously vigilant is less likely to be selected as an innocent conduit for a drug run than one with a crew whose security procedures are neither extensive nor diligently enforced. It is therefore of great importance that security precautions are seen to be effective at all times.

The greatest deterrent to a potential trafficker is the obvious awareness of the threat by shore-based and seagoing staff.

3.6 Special care with cargo in containers

3.6 Special care with cargo in containers
Companies are encouraged to co-operate with the competent Authorities at the port in sharing information that may be valuable in the establishment of a "container-risk profile". A systematic analysis of criteria such as consignee companies, owners, source, market history, form of payment, ports of call, etc., may be valuable in establishing such profiles, in accordance with the SAFE Framework of Standards.

If drugs are prevented from getting on board they cannot be unwittingly carried. The key issue, therefore, is control of access to ship and cargo.

04 Measures and procedures

4 Measures and procedures for overall ship security

4.1 Port facility security

4.1 Port facility security
Security measures and procedures reduce the vulnerability of any facility. The security level set by the Contracting Government will have a significant influence on the number and type of security measures and procedures required. The presence or absence of effective shoreside security measures is one of the main factors which determine the need for additional shipboard security measures.

4.2 Security on board ship

4.2 Security on board ship
The master is responsible for the safety and security of the ship. Additional security measures should be implemented to counter increased risks when warranted. A properly trained crew is in itself a strong deterrent to breaches of security. The first line of defence is the maintenance of the integrity of the vessel. This could be seriously compromised if crew members or other company employees become involved in drug trafficking.

4.2.1 Control of access to the ship and identification
The main task facing a would-be trafficker aiming to conceal packages on board the vessel is to gain access by infiltration. Security measures aimed at prevention should therefore be in the ship security plan. In each case the best methods of deterring and preventing unauthorized access are crew awareness and control of entrance to the vessel. The vessel's hull is a clear boundary which is easily defined. Protection of this boundary creates a physical and psychological deterrent to persons attempting unauthorized entry. It delays intrusion, enabling crew and security guards to detect and, if necessary, apprehend intruders. It also provides personnel and vehicles with designated and readily identifiable places for entry on to the vessel.

4.2.2 Precautions while ships are in port
Where appropriate, and in addition to the security measures appropriate for the security level in force, in order to adequately prevent illicit drugs from being brought aboard, additional measures to counter drug smuggling should be applied for example when required cargo nets might need to be intercepted and opened on the main deck before being lowered into the hold, for purposes of inspection, since drugs, components or precursors are often wrapped in the cargo nets so as to bring them aboard undetected.

4.2.3 Access by persons other than crew members
In addition to the guidance given in MSC/Circ.1112 on Shore leave and access to ships under the ISPS Code and MSC/Circ.1156 on Guidance on the access of public authorities, emergency response services and pilots on board ships to which SOLAS chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code apply, where persons other than crew members are permitted on board, the following precautions should be observed:

  1. access may be authorized to specific departments but should not be granted to restricted areas, engine rooms, holds, stores, etc.;

  2. any package or bag brought on board or removed from the ship should  be examined;

  3. in the case of shore personnel working on board, for maintenance, loading, unloading, stowing or unstowing the ship, etc., the ship security officer  should ensure that access to restricted and unauthorized areas is controlled; and

  4. access control at the ship's access ladder or gangway while at the port facility.

4.3 Control of access to the ship and identification

4.3 General precautions on ships
In addition to the security procedures appropriate to the security level in force, additional precautions should be applied in drug risk areas, for example restricted areas on board ships for example, bridge, engine room, radio room, etc. should also be established. The locking of store rooms, cabins and internal access points, unused while in port, is an obvious precaution. The use, number and distribution of ships' master keys should be controlled by the ship security officer. Corrective action should be planned in advance in case security should be compromised by misuse or loss of keys. The following measures might be considered for protecting the natural boundary created by the ship's hull:

  1. Access points to the vessel should be kept to a minimum, ideally a single controlled gangway, ramp or companion way. When regulations demand a second emergency ladder, consideration should be given to keeping it rolled up or lifted clear of the water.

  2. If the risk warrants it, access points should be manned. In certain circumstances two members of the crew or supplementary security staff may be required. They should be fully briefed on their duties and the action to take in the event of an incident or emergency. They need to be provided with a flash light, a means of summoning assistance and communications equipment to remain in touch with the duty officer. A means of discreet communications by radio, direct-line facilities or other reliable means should be provided at each access point for use by security or operating personnel to contact the port facility security officer in the event that assistance is required.

  3. Gangway duty personnel need to hold a list of crew members, shore officials and expected visitors. Security alarms and devices may be appropriate in certain ports, as a complement to guards and patrols. Immediate and appropriate response to alarms is important if they are to be effective.

  4. Packages, spares and stores should be carefully scrutinized when being taken on board.

  5. Random, frequent and thorough searches should be made if it is impractical to search every item. Items sent ashore for repair, inspection or replenishment, such as fire extinguishers, gas bottles, etc., should be closely examined on return to the vessel.

In areas of high risk or at security level 2 or 3 visitors may need to be searched and photographed on boarding, accompanied whilst on board or even prohibited from entering the ship.

Shore facility employees, vendors, assigned law enforcement officials and others, whose official duties require them to board the vessel, should be asked to identify themselves and prominently display suitable identification. Persons refusing to present security documents at an access point to the vessel should be denied entry and reported to the port facility security officer and the competent Authorities at the port. If necessary, a responsible officer should be called to confirm their identity. Strangers should be challenged.

Unexpected visitors should only be allowed to embark one at a time and should be watched from the other side of the ship.

Vulnerable or little-used compartments and unmanned machinery spaces should be kept locked, especially in high risk ports, and watchkeepers should make random inspections to look for signs of tampering. Consideration should also be given to removing identifying tallies over the doors of those compartments.

The decision to keep certain spaces locked during a stay in port should take into account basic security aspects.

Crew members should be warned to be suspicious of unexpected objects or packages in unusual places. They should not accept packages from strangers and should be aware that drugs may be introduced into seemingly innocent packages.

To prevent this, boxes which have been searched could be bound with coloured tape for identification, or automatically strapped using polypropylene tape. Small craft in the vicinity of the vessel should be kept  under surveillance and, at night, illuminated where possible.

At sea, if there is any doubt about the identity or intentions of a vessel which is seeking to attract attention, no reply should be given. Furthermore, when circumstances so warrant and safety permits, the ship should increase speed and/or extinguish navigation lights and increase deck lighting. Attempts should be made to identify or photograph any vessel behaving in a strange manner and the competent Authorities at the nearest port should be informed immediately by the fastest possible means. Particular care needs to be exercised in narrow waters and during the hours of darkness, when a surreptitious approach could be carried out more easily.

4.4 Measures to provide protection

4.4 Measures to provide protection against external concealment
4.4.1 Lighting
While in port, at anchor or underway, the ship's deck and overside can be illuminated in periods of darkness and restricted visibility, though care should be taken not to interfere with the required navigation lights and safe navigation.

The lights should be arranged to illuminate specific areas continuously during the hours of darkness or restricted visibility. In some circumstances, it may be preferable to use such lighting systems only in response to an alarm.

Floodlights may be used to supplement the primary system and may be either portable or fixed. Where available, searchlights can be used to illuminate suspicious persons, vehicles or craft approaching the vessel.

4.4.2 Watch from on board
A good lookout should be kept from the deck, to look for bubbles divers, floating refuse (which may hide swimmers) or small boats. Approaching boats should be challenged and, if unidentified, should be prevented from coming alongside.

4.4.3 Searches below the waterline
If it is thought likely that a device has been fixed to the outside of the hull below the water-line, a search can be carried out to locate the device, though not to dislodge it. Qualified clearance divers are required to do this and their assistance should be sought through the competent Authorities at the port.

4.5 Personnel control

4.5 Personnel control
Passengers, crew members and other Company employees having legitimate business on board vessels clearly have greater opportunity to circumvent access control measures if determined to do so. Their potential for involvement in illicit activities must not be overlooked in assessing a vessel's vulnerability for use in the transport of drugs.

Where the threat warrants it, therefore, all reasonable and legal precautions should be taken to check the background and integrity of employees, especially prospective new staff. References from previous employers should be requested. Dismissals from previous employments or frequent job changes should be explained.

In assessing the possibility of employees succumbing to drug related pressures, the following points should be considered:

  1. Is there an anti-drugs commitment from management and are staff aware of it?

  2. Is there a drugs awareness and education programme and is staff co-operation encouraged?

  3. Do all employees entitled to access to vessels or cargo have identification badges?

  4. Are all employees aware of what to do and whom to tell if a suspicious bag or package is found?

  5. Are all employees aware of what to do if they become suspicious of cargo, customers or colleagues?

  6. Are any employees exhibiting signs of drug involvement such as changes in appearance, behaviour or character, frequent requests for swift changes or a desire to be allocated to a particular vessel, consignment or work station?

4.6 Forms of involvement

4.6 Forms of involvement of on-board personnel in drug trafficking
Employees, crew members or passengers may become involved in drug trafficking either as individuals or as part of an organized conspiracy.

4.6.1 Individually
Experience indicates that officers and management are rarely involved in this kind of activity. Since access to the cargo at both loading and discharge is difficult to guarantee for a crew member - and even more so for a passenger - drug trafficking by individual carriers generally uses the personal or working area of the crew member involved. However, an effort may be made to conceal the goods in an area which will not immediately draw attention to the individual if the goods are discovered.

4.6.2 The organized conspiracy
Such conspiracies may sometimes involve several or all crew members, including ships' officers,  port facility staff and port management. With inside knowledge of vessel schedules, routeing, shipboard routines, cargo information systems and customs procedures, large quantities of drugs can be involved and concealment techniques can be highly sophisticated as there is time to prepare the hiding place and conceal the product. Other places of concealment which may require an organized conspiracy are fuel tanks, engine room machinery, conduits or pipes.

05 Detection of concealed drugs

5 Detection of concealed drugs

5.1 Shipboard searches

5.1 Shipboard searches
To help ensure maximum effectiveness, the search plan should be practised from time to time to build up confidence on the part of the crew and to remind them that good security is everyone's business. In areas of high risk or if specific information has been received, searches may be conducted after leaving each port. In these areas crews should be prepared to conduct a greater number of searches of people and goods. Every crew member should have areas of responsibility and search areas, which should be rotated randomly by the ship security officer.

Ships are particularly vulnerable to the transport of illicit substances. In the case of drugs, precursors and chemicals used in their manufacture, two main factors should be borne in mind:

  1. the high value of the drugs, precursors and chemicals used in their manufacture and the involvement of international organized crime mean that large sums of money are at stake, with the consequent pressures including the risk of violence; and

  2. the possibility that some crew members may be drug addicts.

N.B.: All psychotropic substances are very dangerous and some can be absorbed through the skin. Gloves and masks should always be used when handling suspicious substances. Never rub, touch or handle substances with exposed skin. Do not inhale vapours or powder. Do not smoke near the substance in question. Do not test it. Do not taste, eat or drink it.

Everyone should bear in mind the possibility of sudden violence, including armed attack, when a large quantity of psychotropic substances, chemicals used in their manufacture or precursors are discovered. Due precautions should be taken at all times.

5.2 Shipboard search planning

5.2 Shipboard search planning
To ensure that a thorough and efficient search is completed in the shortest possible time, search plans should be prepared in advance. This should normally be done by the competent Authorities in conjunction with the ship security officer  and can be reviewed and modified in the light of experience.

The search plan should be comprehensive, and should detail the routes searchers should follow and all the places on the route where a package might be hidden.

The plan should be developed in a systematic manner to cover all options and to ensure no overlap or omission. This allows those responsible to concentrate on the actual search without worrying about missing something.

Before conducting the search, the configuration of the vessel should be taken into account to ensure that:

  • the ship is divided into manageable areas;
  • all areas of the ship are included; and
  • all areas of the ship are accessible.

This configuration would show:

  1. number of decks;

  2. number and location of cargo holds;

  3. number and location of tanks and void spaces;

  4. size and layout of engine room;

  5. number and size of crew quarters and public areas;

  6. accessibility of ventilation systems; and

  7. number and size of storerooms used for various purposes.

One location on board needs to be designated as the control point where search team reports are sent, analysed and controlled.

Preparations should be made to equip the search teams with:

  1. flash lights and batteries;

  2. screwdrivers, wrenches and crowbars;

  3. mirrors and probes;

  4. gloves, hard hats, overalls and non-slip footwear;

  5. plastic bags and envelopes for collection of evidence; and

  6. forms on which to record activities and discoveries.

A system of check cards would be useful. One would be issued to each searcher specifying the route to follow and the areas to be searched. These cards can be colour-coded for different areas of responsibility, for example blue for deck, red for engine room. On completion of individual search tasks, the cards are returned to a central control point. When all cards are returned, the search is known to be complete.

When the master or the ship security officer has decided to search the ship, he should first brief his department heads who, in turn, can brief their own search group leaders. It is the group leaders who then organize their teams and search allocated spaces, using search plans to ensure that no spaces are missed.

5.3 Types of shipboard search

5.3 Types of shipboard search

5.3.1 Reactive search
This type of search would be carried out in reaction to a specific threat or piece of intelligence indicating that a package or bag has been placed on board. It can also be used as a precaution at level 2 or 3, or  during times of heightened threat. A reactive search should comply with the following principles:

  1. Crew members should not be allowed to search their own areas in case they are involved in a drug smuggling operation and have concealed packages or bags in their own work or personal areas.

  2. The search should be conducted according to a specific plan or schedule and must be carefully controlled.

  3. Special consideration should be given to search parties working in pairs with one searching "high" and one searching "low". If a suspicious object is found, one of the pair can remain on guard while the other reports the find.

  4. Searchers should be able to recognize a suspicious package or bag.

  5. There should be a system for marking or recording "clean" areas.

  6. To prevent the illicit movement of goods during a search, the movement of persons should be controlled. Where this is not applicable, persons should be subject to search when transiting between searched and un-searched areas.

  7. Searchers should maintain contact with the search controllers, perhaps by UHF/VHF radio.

  8. Searchers should have clear guidance on what to do if a suspicious package or bag is found.

  9. Searchers should bear in mind that smugglers may try to match the package or bag to the background, such as a tool box in an engine room.

The engine-rooms of ships are common places for concealing psychotropic substances, drug components or precursors. Generally shaft tunnels and lubricating oil and settling tanks are suspect, as are starting air bottles, the gauges of which can readily be set to show pressure even when empty. Access to the engine-room can be made from the shaft tunnel escape trunk opening on to the main deck or the steering engine flat. Once again it must be emphasized that such doors should be kept closed when the ship is in port and opened only in cases of need or emergency. Nevertheless, the need to keep escape routes clear must be observed.

The search controller should keep a record of all reports from the search groups to ensure that all spaces are checked and that the master and/or the ship security officer  always has an up-to-date search status.

The discovery of one package or bag should not be the end of a search as there is always the possibility that more than one package or bag has been planted.

5.3.2 Fast search
Similar to the above search plan, a plan for fast search, or 'quick look', at the unlocked or more vulnerable and accessible areas can be drawn up for use after unloading/disembarkation and before loading/embarkation, etc. Using the card system, selected cards only are issued, covering the more vulnerable and accessible areas.

In this event:

  1. all previously locked doors should be checked to ensure they have remained locked; and

  2.  all unlocked spaces, lifts and rubbish bins should be thoroughly searched.

On completion of the fast search, the master and/or the ship security officer can decide whether a full search, including a search of locked spaces, is necessary.

5.3.3 Preventive search
Preventive searching aims to deter smugglers from trying to smuggle a package or bag on board a ship and to find it before it is planted. There may be occasions when all visitors to the ship need to be searched.

The point or points where people and goods pass into a restricted or sterile zone, such as the vessel, need to be established and controlled. At these points, checks and searches should be made to ensure that everything that passes through the point is clean. Once through the point, segregation is important and no contact should be allowed with uncleared personnel.
The percentage of persons/goods searched will, of course, depend upon the threat level.

Passengers and their hand-carried baggage can be examined on shore, at one or more search points, or on boarding the vessel. As every port is different, final judgement must be made by the competent Authority.

No person or vehicle should be allowed to "turn back from a sterile area or depart the ship"without the knowledge of the person controlling the search.

Restricted or sterile areas should be searched if they have been accessed.

The frequency of such searches will be determined by the threat level.

5.4 Methods of searching

5.4 Methods of searching
The method of search chosen will depend on the individual situation and the level of threat. Physical search remains the final and most reliable method as long as it is correctly carried out.

5.4.1 Physical searching
Passengers and visitors to ships may be physically searched. With large numbers of people, this is best carried out in private booths, as this minimizes embarrassment and increases effectiveness. The use of private booths also prevents search methods from being observed. Passengers should not be given the opportunity of selecting a particular searcher and barriers should be used to prevent searchers being distracted by the large number of people around them.

A supervisor should observe visitors or passengers to note suspicious behaviour and to direct people to available searchers.

To be properly effective, a physical search of packages, bags and belonging should include a check for false bottoms, lids, sides and compartments. Very often a smell of glue or a heavy odour to mask the smell of certain drugs is an indication that a lining may have been removed and put back in position. Special attention should be paid to any tampering or repair to a package, greasy stains or small holes in the exterior. Contents should be assessed during the search and if the weight seems unbalanced or disproportionate for no obvious reason, a further check for a false compartment may be justified.

Particular attention should be paid to electrical and electronic apparatus, new as well as used, being brought on board. Passengers should be questioned on the origins of the equipment and whether it has been out of their possession for any period of time. Equipment may be examined for unusual characteristics such as signs of tampering, excessive weight or loose objects inside.

Other containers carried in bags which could be used to conceal drugs must also be examined. Normally this can be done visually.

5.4.2 X-ray systems and detection technology
The most usual method of screening high volumes of baggage and personal belongings is to use X-ray equipment. Modern equipment is capable of producing images of good definition and penetration, but X-ray examination can be less effective than physical search in identifying drugs, although false compartments or hollow sections in goods, packaging or containers can be revealed.

Baggage X-ray equipment provides a fast and convenient way of seeing inside objects without the need to unpack or damage them. It can be bought with various tunnel sizes, from the typical 600 mm wide x 400 mm high tunnel equipment that is used for screening passengers bags, through the 1 650 mm wide x 1 500 mm high equipment which is used to screen cargo, to specialized systems capable of screening whole containers and vehicles. This flexibility will allow most objects that can conveniently be moved to be passed through the equipment and produce an X-ray image.

Operator efficiency decreases significantly after only a relatively short time, particularly at peak screening periods, and operators should only scan X-ray images for a maximum of 20 minutes before being employed on other duties. The image must be presented for a minimum of 5 seconds to permit proper examination.

Bulk detection devices measure some bulk characteristic of materials in an attempt to detect the possible presence of explosives or drugs. Some of the bulk characteristics that may be measured are the X-ray absorption coefficient; the X-ray backscatter coefficient; the dielectric constant; gamma or neutron interaction; and the microwave, millimetre wave, or infrared emissions. Further analysis of these parameters can result in calculated mass, density, nitrogen content, and effective atomic number. While none of these characteristics are unique to explosives or narcotics, they can be sufficiently indicative to point to a high probability of the presence of explosives or certain types of drugs.

Explosives and drugs may also be detected by means of the vapours they give off or the particulate traces spread when they are handled. In general, vapours are found in the air while particles are mostly found on surfaces. Because some explosives and drugs are more volatile than others, vapour detection tends to be appropriate to some materials while trace detection is more appropriate to others. It is essential to recognize that vapour detection equipment relies on the presence of explosive vapour and is not capable of detecting explosives and drugs which do not vaporize, or if the vapour is contained.

Further information on available technology to secure and facilitate international trade, including drug detection equipment, can be found in the WCO Databank on advanced technology which is available via the WCO web site www.wcoomd.org.

5.4.3 Use of dogs
Specially trained dogs can be very effective in searching cars, baggage and freight. Dogs can also be used for searching in ships but need to be familiar with the sea-going environment to achieve results.

5.4.4 Additional considerations
In addition to searches of people and accompanying belongings, there may be occasions whensearches of other items boarding the vessel may be necessary.

  1. The searching of freight and vehicles before boarding is difficult and expensive but there are times when the security levels warrant such measures to be taken. In high risk areas careful examination of:
    • external packaging,
    • container and vehicle infrastructure,
    • paperwork,
    • the screening of drivers,
    • coupled with good intelligence

      contributes to solving the problem.

      If companies are suspicious that freight, freight vehicles or trailers may contain illicit
      goods they should be isolated and advice sought from the relevant law enforcement
      authority immediately.

  2. Ships' stores
    All ships' stores consigned to a ship offer a conduit for drugs. Ships must check their stores carefully and screen each item when the security level  so demands. The unexpected package or bag is the one to be wary of.

  3. Miscellaneous deliveries to ships and ports
    Smugglers may well use innocent-looking vehicles and people delivering routine items such as bread, milk, flowers or fresh vegetables to contacts on board. Good access control, personnel identification and random search will help to counter this risk.

06 Concealment of drugs

6 Concealment of drugs on board ships and Tell-Tale signs.

6.1 On board ship

6.1 On board ship
Drugs on board vessels can be hidden in the structure of the vessel itself or in seldom-used compartments, spaces and machinery, concealed in accommodation areas or, where crew members are involved, held on the person or in personal effects. The cargo offers many opportunities for concealment, especially where unit load or containerized cargo is involved.

6.2 Places of concealment

6.2 Places of concealment on board ship
There are many places on board a ship where drugs can be concealed. Some of the more common places where drugs have been found include:

  1. where it is unlikely that anyone will enter or where searches are rarely made, whether due to respect (for example master's cabin, the sofa in his day room), awkwardness (for example propeller shaft tunnel) or danger (for example behind electrical panels and in inert cargo spaces); near the funnel where fumes may disguise distinctive smells such as cannabis; passenger cabins;

  2. store rooms (flour bins, refrigerators, freezers for provisions such as fish and meat, sacks of vegetables or inside canned goods);

  3. deposited provisions (wardrobes);

  4. paint stores (paint lockers);

  5. in crew quarters (for example behind or in radiators or toilet fittings, behind pictures or skirting boards, in porthole panelling, in cabin, ceiling and wall panelling, in false compartments in the bases of wardrobes and in coat hangers, under lockers and drawers, beneath bunks and mattresses and other cabin furniture);

  6. places where access is prohibited to unauthorized personnel;

  7. inside lubricating oil tanks or cargo tanks; in companionway ducts, floor, wall and ceiling panels, inside ventilation pipes and shaft tunnels or cable ducts in the deck or inside engine-room machinery, in computer rooms, control panels, sumps, bilges and funnel shafts;

  8. crates or containers with false bottoms; double-bottomed oil drums, cylinders and paint drums;

  9. places where the substances may not seem out of place (for example medical stores, lifeboat stores); inside fire extinguishers, hoses and their storage spaces;

  10. inside recent structural alterations; in freight containers or in hollow spaces in their construction;

  11. inside false floors and/or ceilings in cabins and companionways;

  12. in oil or water tanks false probes or visual indicators and falsely calibrated gauges may be fitted.

6.3 Suspicious circumstances on board

6.3 Suspicious circumstances on board
The following are examples of circumstances which should be regarded as suspicious and warrant further investigation:

  1. strangers found in unusual places while the ship is in port;

  2. strangers carrying parcels and seeking access to the vessel;

  3. shore gangs or contractors' staff working unsupervised on apparently unnecessary work or outside normal hours without good reason;

  4. unanticipated work, especially structural adaptations of alterations (for example closed off spaces);

  5. crew members found in strange places without reason (for example, catering crew in the hold or engine room), loitering in unusual places during the voyage or showing undue interest or unease during officers' inspections;

  6. passengers found outside passenger or public areas;

  7. unexpected occurrences (for example, a supposedly full ballast tank found empty) or things out of place (for example, sacks of flour in the paint store);

  8. evidence that packages, tanks or containers have been opened;

  9. disturbed stowage, closed off spaces, pipes going nowhere;

  10. missing keys;

  11. unexplained failure of electrics or mechanics, for however short a period; and

  12. evidence of tampering with welded tank tops, primed gauges, insecure boat covers, unlocked "secure places".

6.4 Suggested checks

6.4 Suggested checks for masters and ships' officers

  1. know your crew's usual habits and study any unease or departure from routine, such as unusual places for routine jobs on board or any uncharacteristic behaviour;

  2. maintain proper gangway watch at all times in port and forbid unauthorized access;

  3. conduct regular inspections of varied nature, place and duration and log them;

  4. question all strange persons in an unusual place on board while the ship is in port;

  5. take into consideration the possible significance of finding things out of place; for example, a supposedly full ballast tank found empty, or sacks of flour in the paint store;

  6. inspect all disturbed stowage, closed off spaces, pipes going nowhere;

  7. seek evidence of tampering with the ship's fittings, for example, welded tank tops, insecure boat covers, equipment which does not work;

  8. where possible, arrange supervision of shore gangs; and

  9. lock all spaces and access points to, for example, cargo spaces not regularly in use and control access to keys.

6.5 Observation of behaviour patterns

6.5 Observation of behaviour patterns
Crew members or passengers should be carefully observed as to their behaviour patterns. The following might be significant:

  1. nervous or suspicious behaviour;

  2. unusually large amounts of money;

  3. unusually large local purchases;

  4. expensive clothing;

  5. lists containing names, dates or places and references to money, weights or other units;

  6. unusual clothing when going ashore or returning to the vessel (for example, bulky or out-of-season clothing, conspicuous bulges on the body);

  7. unusual interest in a particular area of the vessel, consignment or container;

  8. possession of unusual tools not connected to the job; and

  9. possession of drug paraphernalia.

6.6 Suspicious circumstances at sea

6.6 Suspicious circumstances at sea
In addition to being aware of the threats to their own vessel, crew members may, while undertaking their normal duties, become aware of unusual activities which may be worthreporting through the master and/or ship security officer  to the competent Authorities.
For example:

  1. goods being transferred to and from vessels at sea;

  2. goods being brought aboard from vessels close to shore;

  3. marker buoys in unusual places;

  4. signalling between vessels and the coast;

  5. inflatables moving offshore at high speed (especially at night);

  6. unusual diving activity in the port; and

  7. craft anchored or off-loading goods on remote areas of coastline.

6.7 Suspicious circumstances on shore

6.7 Suspicious circumstances on shore
Companies, through the company security officer, should be aware of the drug trafficking threat and take it into account, whether or not:

  1. the person making the cargo booking is familiar;

  2. the shipper/consignee is a regular customer or a first-time client;

  3. the article involved is consistent with the client's business;

  4. the shippers'/consignees' addresses are incomplete, misspelt, vague or inappropriate;

  5. the "notify party" is difficult to contact;

  6. it is a last minute booking;

  7. the charges are prepaid and in cash;

  8. any attempt has been made to hide the name/address of the payer of freight;

  9. the shipment originates in a known drug source or transit country;

  10. the consignment appears to be normal bearing in mind the origin and routeing of the cargo, commodity, country of origin and destination and the value of the goods;

  11. the cargo is properly described on the documentation; and

  12. the size/weight ratio is commensurate with the commodity.

All staff should be aware of the threat and alert to any unusual circumstances. Any such
circumstances, together with details of the ship and cargo, should be reported to the competent
Cargo handling staff should be asked to look for:

  1. broken seals on containers;

  2. false floors in containers (not flush with the door frame) or false ceilings (roof above the corner blocks or changes in height of internal ceiling);

  3. blocked cavities in the frame of containers or trailers;

  4. evidence of drilling in the frame of a container or chassis;

  5. evidence of fresh paint or new welding, or variations in wall, floor or ceiling texture, which may indicate a structural alteration designed to conceal drugs or other contraband.

Special attention should be paid to reefer boxes where insulation spaces and material, as well as
the machinery, offer additional smuggling opportunities.

07 Action when drugs are found

7 Action when drugs are found

7.1 General guidance

7.1 General guidance
In the absence of any specific standing guidance from the Company in the ship security plan, ship security officers  should seek directions on measures to be taken whenever drugs are discovered on vessels, in cargo or on premises. If drugs are found at sea, the authorities at the next port of call should be notified by radio before entering territorial waters. The competent Authorities should be informed as soon as possible.

7.2 Personal safety considerations

7.2 Personal safety considerations
The following points must be observed to ensure personal safety when a suspicious package or bag or substance is discovered:

  1. Do not pierce or open suspicious packages or bags wrapped in newspaper, foil, carbon paper, or polythene bags and sealed with masking tape.

  2. Do not feel, handle or touch the substance without skin protection and a face mask.

  3. Do not inhale powders, fumes or vapours.

  4. Do not rush your actions.

  5.  Do not smoke near the substance or expose it to heat or flame.

  6. Do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES taste, eat or drink the suspect substance.

  7. Always wash hands and brush clothing free from any contamination as soon as possible.

  8. Ensure adequate ventilation and lighting in confined or enclosed spaces.

  9. If moving the items to a secure place, wrap them in plastic film, sheet or bags and take them to a secure place or safe as quickly as possible.

  10. Take note of anyone taking an unusual interest in what you are doing.

7.3 Specific guidance

7.3 Specific guidance
Get another person to witness the position of a suspicious package or bag before taking any action. If possible, take photographs of the package or bag as it was found, i.e. find a witness (avoiding the "minder"). Handle as little as possible and remember there may be fingerprint evidence on the package or bag. Where necessary, taking handling precautions, remove the goods to a safe place under lock and key. Guard if necessary. If at sea, record any discovery in the ship's log. Include as much detail as possible: date, time, location, approximate quantity, person detecting, names of witnesses, etc.

  1. Do not disclose the find, and limit information to persons who need to know.

  2.  Notify the competent Authorities at the next port of call before entering territorial waters. Failure to do so could result in charges of drug trafficking.

  3.  Do not allow crew members to disembark before being interviewed by the competent Authorities.

  4. Protect any wrapping and anything else found in the space.

  5. Consider searching similar locations and spaces.

  6. Write a report AS SOON AFTER THE EVENT AS POSSIBLE. Include everything that occurred. Making a sketch plan of the space and area often proves helpful. It is also very useful to note why the particular location or cargo was inspected or how the package(s) or bag(s)  came to be found. Include any suspicious activity noticed. The report should be signed by any witnesses. At sea, the finder of the package or bag, the witnessing officer, the master and/or the ship
    security officer,  or the head of department, should sign the report, showing the date and time. If the finding is in cargo, the relevant cargo documentation should be collected for subsequent examination by the competent Authorities.

  7. Ships' masters and/or security officers  should notify the competent Authorities and the port facility security officer upon arrival.

08 Medical substances permitted on board

8 Medical substances permitted on board

8.1 Medical substances used on board

8.1 Medical substances used on board
Most vessels today carry medical supplies for treatment of illness during the voyage as well as emergency lifeboat medical stores. Vessels within territorial waters are subject to the provisions of the appropriate national legislation and any regulations relating to storage and supply of listed drugs will need to be observed. These are generally common rules based on international agreement.

The master of any vessel is responsible for the safe storage of medicines  and security of the ship's medical locker, which is to be kept locked. Very often, substances such as morphine and diazepam are under the direct control of the master, who keeps them in his cabin together with a  detailed record of the existing and used amounts, the corresponding incidents which occurred on board and the substance expiry dates.

Medical stores kept in lifeboats should be frequently inspected at sea and removed to the medical locker for security when the vessel is in port. If alternative arrangements are made, security should be the best available.

The vessel should provide a list, with quantities, of all controlled drugs (for example, morphine) to the competent Authorities, together with the ship's report, on arrival at a port. Providing the
quantities carried are reasonable, no licence will generally be required.

On vessels such as cruise liners which carry a ship's doctor, he or she is responsible for the medicines and for any related irregularities that may arise, but the master will still carry the legal responsibility for every irregularity.

8.2 Medical substances for trade

8.2 Medical substances for trade
Drugs, irrespective of quantity, require a valid licence for import or export, although some minor relaxations may apply. The licence will specify the substances, period of validity of the licence, ports to be used and any special conditions concerning the shipment. Since any variation from the licence constitutes an offence, the competent Authorities at the port should be approached if changes are required.

It must be remembered that pharmaceutical preparations containing substances which appear in the tables of the 1988 Vienna Convention are not exempt from control, unless their composition is such that those substances cannot easily be used or recovered by the available means. Thus, unless expressly exempted, pharmaceutical preparations must be controlled appropriately.

02 Chapter Control of the transport of precursors and chemical products

Control of the transport of precursors and chemical products

01 Precursors and essential chemical products

1 Precursors and essential chemical products used in the illicit manufacture of
narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

Drug producers, in addition to needing access to raw plant materials for processing into narcotic substances, also require access to large supplies of chemicals to obtain the illicit substances that are to be marketed. Some drugs, known as synthetic drugs, are entirely chemically based. However, it must be borne in mind that most finished products contain a percentage of chemical products, which may be distinguished as follows:

Precursor: a chemical substance which is needed for processing of a finished product, either cocaine or heroin; its molecules will be present in the molecule of the finished product. If the precursor is not used, the final product cannot be obtained. Before obtaining the finished product it is necessary to have this precursor.

Reagent: a product used to provoke a chemical reaction, but which is replaceable by another reagent if the same chemical reaction is obtained. The precursor must be a product of this type. The reagent may be one type of product, or another with similar properties which provokes the same chemical reaction: one may be substituted by another.

Solvent: a chemical substance which is included in the formula. Its presence is required in order to cause a reaction which dissolves and eliminates impurities, thus making the product easier to handle.

Controlling the transport of precursor chemicals is thus essential to the control of drug manufacture.

The cocaine production process serves as a useful reminder:

The initial requirement is for coca leaf, from which a cocaine paste is extracted. This is refined into cocaine base, which is then converted to cocaine hydrochloride. The chemical products used
are kerosene, ammoniacal water and sulphuric acid. The refinement process requires ammoniacal water and potassium permanganate. The conversion process requires acetone, ether and hydrochloric acid.

The following table provides a summary of the chemicals used in preparing various narcotics:


AcetoneHeroin, morphine, cocaine
Ethyl acetateHeroin, cocaine
Butyl acetateCocaine
Hydrochloric acidHeroin, morphine, cocaine
Sulphuric acidCocaine, marijuana oil
Butyl alcoholMorphine, cocaine paste
Acid anhydrideHeroin, methaqualone
ChloroformHeroin, morphine, cocaine
Sodium carbonateHeroin, morphine, cocaine
Methanol Cocaine
Ethyl etherHeroin, cocaine

   * Internet site of the Air and Space Power Journal International (Spanish)
Many of these are classified as controlled substances under the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Illicit Substances (see annex 1).

It is therefore important that ships and port facilities deemed to be at risk from drug trafficking formulate and implement plans to prevent and control the illegal diversion of chemical substances in order to restrict illicit drug production.

02 Precautions for the transport

2 Precautions for the transport of precursors or essential chemical products used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs

Shipments of these products to drug producing areas are certain to generate interest on the part of the competent Authorities who are likely to investigate the consignment in greater detail. If any of the substances should be discovered on board unmanifested or in unusual circumstances, the competent Authorities at the next port of call should be notified.

  1. Both the master and the crew of a ship carrying essential chemicals or precursors used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances should take security measures in respect of store rooms and lockers where they are stored, including inspections to check the quantity and condition of the packages, for example to ensure that brand labels have not been altered.

  2. During its voyage, any ship carrying essential chemicals or precursors used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, must inform the competent Authorities of the nearest port that it is carrying such substances, indicating the class, quantity, destination, route and  itinerary. Ships masters are reminded that the ship's stores may include legitimate chemicals which are, or contain, precursors. Care should be exercised to ensure such chemicals in the ships stores are declared to the appropriate competent authorities.

Both the master and the crew of the ship should be informed about the existence of various diversion mechanisms used by those engaged in illicit chemical trafficking.

03 Recommendations to countries

3 Recommendations to countries which produce, distribute and supply precursor chemicals

Countries which produce chemical products that can be used to manufacture narcotics are requested to make special efforts to control their distribution or supply, through measures such as the following:

  1. establishing government control of precursors so that the destination and means of distribution of these substances is known precisely;

  2. submitting timely reports from the port of loading to the port of destination of ships carrying chemical products, including description of the ship, route and itinerary, type of substances, quantities and intermediate ports of call;

  3. urging ships carrying precursors to notify the Authorities at the port of destination and intermediate ports of call at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance, so that the necessary control measures may be taken by each State.

Bearing in mind that chemical products are essential to the manufacture of psychotropic substances, it is important that all governments insist on such controls as they deem appropriate to ensure that the specific quantities and qualities of those products reach their legal destination.

Do not fail to assist if it is in your power to do so.

Annex 01 List of essential chemicals and precursors

List of essential chemicals and precursors frequently used in the manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances

(under the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, signed in Vienna on 19 December 1988)

Table 1
N-acetyl-anthranilic acid
Lysergic acid

The salts of the substance listed in this table whenever the existence of such salts is possible.

Table 2
Acetic anhydride
Anthranilic acid
Ethyl ether
Hydrochloric acid*
Methyl ethyl ketone
Phenylacetic acid
Potassium permanganate
Sulphuric acid*

*. The salts of hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid are specifically excluded from Table 2.

Annex 02 The balance between security and facilitation

The balance between security and facilitation

The world is confronting processes that call for large-scale action on the part of the maritime industry, which is becoming stronger in its role as motor of international trade. Globalization, trade agreements between States, competition and quality of services ensure that maritime transport tackles the important challenges, in order to continue developing as a vital contributor to the flow of international trade while also retaining features that enable it to function on a secure and protected footing.

At the same time, the world is also faced with situations which may place international maritime transport at risk, examples being terrorism, drug trafficking and logistical and procedural problems; if these are not foreseen and addressed in accordance with the established international procedures, they can harm the development of markets and ultimately transport itself. This is why it is increasingly important to achieve the required balance between facilitation of international transport and maritime security. The way to achieve this is to deploy the capacities of every competent Authority at the port, in both facilitation and control. Equally important are exchange of information, collaboration and respect between the various departments and areas of expertise in each competent Authority.

Only in this way will it be possible to have international maritime transport which is not subject to unnecessary delays, is protected from incidents which might pose a threat to its overall security and, at the same time, is equipped with security mechanisms which both offer protection and can develop into outstanding state resources, in turn ensuring optimal levels of security which will encourage international trade.

To develop this balance between facilitation and security, the international community has made considerable efforts to produce regulations and recommendations offering States guidance on what action to take and how to co-ordinate it. With respect to matters relating to facilitation of international maritime transport, the first instrument to mention is the IMO Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic and also the contributions by organizations such as WTO and the WCO. The latter has published the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Trade, which gives practical guidance for developing, on the basis of two basic pillars, namely Customs-Customs collaboration and Customs-Business collaboration, flexible and effective measures, with the training of officials and the commitment of States constantly to the fore.

The fact that States are following the guidelines on security in compliance with the ISPS Code has contributed to greater awareness of security and to an overall understanding of safety, in turn making the maritime transport interest groups more accountable for ensuring smoother integration of planning, safety and scope of application; this should make both the shipping and the trade sectors more efficient.

Accordingly, competent authorities at the port, shipping agencies and clients have a shared responsibility to contribute their utmost, in keeping with the spirit and procedures of the existing international mechanisms and instruments pertaining to facilitation and security at sea and in port.

Finally, the balance between facilitation and security will become firmer with the passing of time, as companies and clients on the one hand, and States on the other, become more involved in both areas. Gradually, this will introduce practices that prevent unnecessary delays in port, thus minimizing of people, cargo and ships to safety risks. All this will take place in a framework of local security plans that combine to assure the overall safety of port facilities, companies and ships.

Annex 03 Internet sites providing information

Internet sites providing information relating to international and national legislation, statistics on consumption and seizures, and situations involving illicit trafficking of drugs, psychotropic substances and chemical products.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO/INTERPOL)

World Customs Organization (WCO)

European Monitoring  Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)


Annex 04 Drugs and drug addiction

Drugs and drug addiction

Drugs of abuse
A drug is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "any substance that, when taken into the living organism, may modify one or more of its functions". Within this definition is a wide range of substances, some of which are both freely available and socially acceptable.

To give some examples:

  • Socially acceptable and freely available substances:
    Caffeine, tobacco (although increasingly becoming less socially acceptable), alcohol (in most countries).
  • Socially unacceptable and freely available substances:
    glue, methylated spirit, petrol, solvents, cleaning fluids.
  • Socially acceptable and freely available pharmaceuticals:
    aspirin, paracetamol, vitamin tablets.
  • Socially acceptable and controlled pharmaceuticals:
    barbiturates, valium, diazepam (librium), and numerous other prescription drugs.
  • Socially unacceptable and controlled pharmaceuticals or substances:
    cannabis, LSD, cocaine, morphine, heroin, amphetamines, opium.

Many of the substances in each category carry some risk of drug dependence, but those in the last category carry by far the greatest. Although some of the latter substances may be used under strictly controlled medical supervision, total dependence can still occur within a short period of time. When these drugs are abused (i.e. used in uncontrolled circumstances) addiction can result very rapidly.

Drug dependence can take various forms:

Physical addiction
This is defined by WHO as "a state that shows itself by physical disturbances when the amount of drug in the body is markedly reduced. The disturbances form a withdrawal or abstinence syndrome composed of somatic and mental symptoms and signs which are characteristic for each drug type".

In the case of physical addiction the body develops a craving for the drug. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug is withheld and some of the symptoms are physically visible in the form of excessive sweating, constant desire for liquids, scratching, twitching of muscles, irritability, diarrhoea, muscle spasm and in extreme cases, coma and death. Where physical addiction occurs the body requires progressively larger doses of the drug to achieve the same level of intoxication or "high". The quicker this increase is noticed the higher the body tolerance is said to be.

Psychological addiction
"This is a condition in which the drug promotes a feeling of satisfaction and a drive to repeat the consumption of the drug in order to induce pleasure or avoid discomfort" (WHO 1974).

In this case the mind develops a dependence on the drug although there may be no physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms are not as pronounced as in physical addiction but there may still be irritability, fits of anger, fixation on taking a further dosage, irrational behaviour, feelings of victimization, etc.

Environmental addiction
This can occur when the addict becomes accustomed to a particular lifestyle. Social meetings or meeting places, not just of opium or cannabis users, have been conducive to environmental addiction and provide opportunities for both addicts and "pushers". If drugs circulate in particular places, the addict has a permanent source and the "pusher" a constant market.

The increasing incidence of the AIDS virus in many parts of the world has given new impetus to reducing drug abuse, since one of the main conduits for spreading infection is the use of contaminated hypodermic needles shared by drug users.

There are no social divisions or classes of drug users. They may be found in all walks of life and at all social levels. The physical characteristics of drug addicts depend on the type of drug used and the time that has elapsed since the last dose.

The drug user generally develops an ability to lie about his habit and keep it secret. Crew members may not notice a drug user among their colleagues.

In a closed community, such as exists in a ship's crew, there may be a strong bond of group loyalty which may result in an unwillingness to believe the worst about a colleague. Drug abusers and drug traffickers are aware of this and will, if suspicions are aroused, take advantage of this.

Drug characteristics and identification
The effect of drugs differs from person to person depending on the amount taken, the surroundings and  the reactions of other people. There are certain behavioural tendencies which can be a useful guide to the identification of drug use.

Sophisticated forensic analysis is often required to establish the exact nature of any substance found. The following guidance may, however, help with tentative identification.



Cannabis, the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), is a bushy plant which grows wild throughout most of the tropical and temperate regions of the world, especially in the Middle East, south-western North America, South East Asia and Mexico. It can be grown virtually anywhere in the world although the major "commercial" movements generally originate in the West Indies, Africa, Turkey, the Indian sub-continent and Thailand.

The most important active ingredients are concentrated in the resin at the top of the plant.
Hashish or "hash" is resin scraped from the plant and compressed into blocks.

Although historically herbal cannabis has always been grown outdoors in regions with warm climates, it has become clear that growers in cooler climates are now producing high quality cannabis indoors in climate controlled conditions. Plants produced in this way are particularly rich in the active ingredient of cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) and the product of such plants has a particularly pungent aroma which may account for its nickname "skunk". Cannabis is the most common illicit drug.

It can be found in three forms:

Herbal (marijuana)
This is found as a green, yellow or brown herbal material, rough or fine in texture depending on the grade of the sample and similar in appearance to dried stinging nettles or hay. Stalks, stems and twigs may be present as well as small white seeds. The substance smells of spicy damp earth and mild rotting vegetation. There is a noticeably acrid "bonfire" smell when being smoked. The smell will linger in a non-ventilated environment.

This appears as beige to dark brown or black (occasionally with a yellowish or greenish tinge) and is normally found as slabs or small chunks, although occasionally in powdered form or moulded shapes. It is slightly sticky in texture. If it is in slabs or moulded blocks, these are normally 0.5 or 1 kg in weight with dimensions 130 mm x 100 mm x 25 mm (5 in x 4 in x 1 in) or 260 mm x 200 mm x 25 mm (10 in x 8 in x 1 in) respectively. The slabs will usually be wrapped in polythene or linen. The substance can be moulded into various shapes such as the soles of shoes, beads, carved heads, etc.

This appears as a dark green to black, occasionally golden, viscous oily liquid and has a smell similar to herbal cannabis, but stronger. It is normally transported in glass or metal 5 litre or 1 gallon containers though they may sometimes be smaller. Cannabis oil dissolves polythene or plastic.

In general, all forms of cannabis have a spicy smell reminiscent of damp earth and rotting vegetation. It is likely to cause nausea where exposure is prolonged. The smell varies with the age of the sample, but is more noticeable in oil than in resin, which is itself stronger smelling than the herbal variety. The smell of the drug lingers in the clothing and the atmosphere where it has been smoked.

The herbal and resin forms of cannabis are usually smoked, but they may be eaten or chewed. In its oil form it can be absorbed through the skin or painted on cigarettes.

Addicts use long cigarette papers, often several layers, small earthenware bowls, wood pipes or any wide-bored article such as animal horns, tree roots or water pipes, or crude cardboard tubes or filters - all designed to cool the temperature of the smoke. Commercial cigarettes may also be found with a line of oil "painted" around them.

Special safety note:Cannabis oil can be absorbed through the skin and cause powerful hallucinations.

Degree of addiction
Psychological addictionfairly strong
Environmental addictionfairly strong
Physical addictionnone
Body tolerancenone to slight

Influence and symptoms
The most common effects are talkativeness, bouts of hilarity, relaxation, and a greater appreciation of sound and colour. The substances can induce drowsy and uninhibited behaviour with the addict exhibiting markedly slow reactions. There will be a marked inability to follow reasoned argument, the pupils of the eye will dilate, and the user will exhibit aggression when confronted.

With higher doses there may be perceptual distortion and persons using the drug when anxious or depressed may find their feelings magnified. For people with disturbed personalities heavy use can precipitate a temporary psychotic disorder.

Popular myths

Fiction: cannabis is an aphrodisiac
Fact: the drug reduces sperm count and fertility
Fiction:it is harmless
Fact:the drug is stored in the brain and lowers the intelligence rating. It is also

Quantities of shipment
Generally 25 kg to 5,000 kg. Most shipments of cannabis and its derivatives have been found on ocean-going vessels.



Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the Andean coca shrub and has powerful stimulant properties similar to those of amphetamine. It is produced mainly in the northern half of South America, especially Colombia and Venezuela, where cocaine profits are a major influence on the economy. The main problem facing the producers is transporting the substance to consumption areas.

It is moved in three forms: coca leaf, coca paste and cocaine.

Coca leaf
This appears as an elliptical leaf, greenish brown to red in colour, similar to large bay leaves in appearance, usually dried. It is odourless.

Coca paste
This appears as a white to off-white or creamy coloured putty-like substance. It has a strong chemical odour, rather like linseed oil. 

This appears as a fluffy white crystalline powder which glistens like snow, though occasionally transported as a colourless solution. It is odourless.

"Crack" emerged as the "in" drug in the early 1980s, initially in the United States. Its use has now spread to other countries. It is produced by mixing cocaine hydrochloride with baking soda or ammonia and/or amphetamine powder. Water is then added to form a paste which is heated and dried. After drying, the "crack" is broken into small pieces.

Being an adulteration of pure cocaine, "crack" is unlikely to be shipped in large quantities since it is bulkier than the pure form of cocaine.

The substance can be inhaled, injected or rubbed into gums, genitals or the anus. Regular users with sufficient supplies (and wealth) might consume 1-2 grams a day. "Crack" can also be smoked through a heated glass pipe.

Associated equipment
Equipment consists of hypodermic syringes, needles, eye-droppers, snuff spoons, razor blades, mirrors, fancy phials or pill boxes, straws, etc. The "sniffing" paraphernalia can be antique or expensive metal tubes encrusted with precious stones worn as ornaments. Less wealthy addicts use plastic spoons, straws, empty ball point pen refills, etc.

Degree of addiction
Psychological addictionstrong
Environmental addictionstrong
Physical addictionnone to slight
Body toleranceslight

Influence and symptoms
Like an amphetamine, cocaine produces psychological arousal accompanied by exhilaration, decreased hunger, indifference to pain and fatigue and feelings of great strength and mental capacity. Users will exhibit pinpoint pupils and suffer from a highly excitable state and erratic behaviour. They will be talkative and may have an increased heart rate and respiration. Repeated doses over a short period of time can lead to an extreme state of agitation, anxiety, paranoia and perhaps hallucination.

When sniffed, the physical effects peak after about 15-30 min and then diminish. The after-effects will include fatigue and depression. This means that the dose may have to be repeated every 20 min or so to maintain the effect. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety for another dosage and feelings of victimization.

 The physical signs of abuse include injection marks, abscesses on gums etc, running nose, sniffing and streaming eyes.

The symptoms of "crack" are an immediate "high" lasting approximately 30 minutes followed by intense depression. The user can become psychotic, violent, paranoid and extremely confused. The physical effects are brain seizure, loss of consciousness and lung damage.

Popular myths

Fiction: it is not physically addictive like heroin.
Fact: true. But it is addictive mentally and can damage the membranes lining the nose and also the structure separating the nostrils. The addict can be easily overdosed and purities vary from the usual 30% to about 90% from source to source.
Fiction:it does not do any real harm.
Fact:AIDS has been commonly transmitted by contaminated needles or syringes. There is no known cure for AIDS.

Quantities of shipment
Usually from 5 kg to 75 kg.



Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
LSD is a synthetic white powder which can be formed into crude pills or shapes.

It is also found as impregnated papers the size of postage stamps, often with mystic signs or sheets of cartoon characters or miniature pictures. It is a pale or colourless solution in its pure form.

This appears either as black to brown buttons with white, thready fungus often present or as a black ground powder.

This is found as a pale pink or yellow liquid and in pill or tablet form.

This comes either as small black seeds, or as a finely ground black/brown powder.

Bufotenine is odourless and is usually found as tablets or in liquid form.

These are found in powder, crude pill or tablet form, or as colourless liquids.

All forms are odourless.

This can be by eating, sniffing, injecting, smoking (occasionally), handling or by rubbing into gums, genitals or anus.

Associated equipment
This may include silver foil wrappings or photographic paper (LSD degenerates in daylight). Clear gelatine capsules may also be found. Small quantities are usually involved (10 micrograms can cause toxicity if absorbed through the skin). Hallucinogens will be carefully wrapped for transport.

Special safety note:Minute quantities will cause toxicity (from 10 micrograms in the case of LSD, 6 to 60 milligrams in other types). Some forms are readily absorbed through the skin. The utmost care must therefore be used when handling.

Degree of addiction
Psychological addictionstrong
Environmental addictionfairly strong
Physical addictionnone
Body tolerancenone to slight

Influence and symptoms
These will vary according to the drug. There will be highly irrational behaviour and the user may be oblivious to outside stimuli, perhaps cowering, voluble or convinced of superhuman ability (e.g., flying, floating, great strength). The user may run amok with apparent schizophrenia and insane behaviour. There may be periods of lucidity and instances of "flashback".

Popular myths

Fiction: good "trips" bring you into contact with God, the Universe, Nature, etc.
Fact: more often the "trips" are bad and permanently scar the personality.

Quantities of shipment
Not usually found in commercial quantities in maritime freight.

Opiates and Opioids


Opiates are drugs derived from the opium poppy. Opium is the dried "milk" of the poppy and contains morphine and codeine. From morphine it is not difficult to produce heroin which is, in its pure form, a white powder over twice as potent as morphine. Opiates have medical uses as pain-killers, cough suppressants and anti-diarrhoea treatments.

The main sources of supply for illicit opium and its derivatives, morphine and heroin, are the poppy fields of the so-called "Golden Triangle" area of Burma, Thailand and Laos in South East Asia and the "Kabul Triangle" or "Golden Crescent" area of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran in South West Asia. It is produced in smaller quantities in other areas of the Eastern Mediterranean through to South East Asia. Most likely ports of origin, based on past seizures, are Bangkok, Singapore, Penang, Port Klang, Bombay, Calcutta, Karachi and Kota Kinabalu. However, most other ports within the area of production have been used by drug traffickers.

Both morphine and heroin are chemically derived from opium. Opium is converted to morphine in a relatively simple chemical process that usually takes place in a makeshift laboratory near the poppy fields. It takes about 10 kg of opium to produce 1 kg of opium and 3 kg of opium to produce 1 kg of heroin (i.e. 30 kg of opium to produce 1 kg of heroin). Heroin is a name commonly used to describe a preparation containing diacetyl morphine base or its salts.

It is a semi-synthetic product derived from the complete acetylation of morphine base.

Opiates may appear in various forms:

Raw opium
Raw opium starts as a thick, dark brown or almost black sticky substance, hardens to the consistency of liquorice and then, with time, to a hard brown/black slightly sticky mass like sealing wax, depending on its age.

Care is usually taken to ensure that it does not dry out since it loses much of its value if it becomes hard and brittle. In its raw state opium cannot be smoked. It is smoked only after conversion to prepared opium. Raw opium is unlikely to have identification marks. It may be wrapped in cellophane or polythene inside waterproof paper in order to stop the raw opium drying out. Polythene or cellophane bags have been found inside tins or wrapped in sacking or

Raw opium has a sweet, oily, pungent aroma, reminiscent of hay. It is not an unpleasant smell from a distance, but is sickly and nauseous when close up or in a confined space without ventilation. Its method of packing is designed to reduce the chance of detection by smell.

Prepared opium
This is produced by treating raw opium with various methods of water extraction, filtration and evaporation to obtain a product suitable for smoking. It usually appears as a black, brittle mass or parings and may smell faintly sickly like raw opium.

Opium dross
This is the substance remaining in the pipe after smoking. Due to incomplete combustion and volatilization, it can retain some characteristics of opium and contain a considerable amount of morphine. It will have a charred appearance and the smell of opium will linger in the air long after smoking.

Medicinal opium
Medicinal or powdered opium is opium that has been dried at moderate temperatures and reduced to a fine powder, usually light brown in colour. It has the characteristic smell of opium, though this may be disguised by additives such as camphor. The product can be used in medicines, any of which are classed a medicinal opium if they have a morphine content greater than 0.1%.

Morphine is chemically derived from opium. In its pure form it consists of white crystals. It is often adulterated and its colour may range from white, cream or beige to a dark coffee colour. It is also found in a medical injection form as a colourless liquid in ampoules. Both pills and ampoules may be commercially produced. In this form it may smell faintly of ammonia or rotting fish.

Diamorphine (heroine)
Diamorphine is a further distillation of morphine. Generally similar to face powder in appearance, it is perhaps slightly coarser, and cream to light brown in colour. It is generally odourless but may have a faint vinegary smell. The substance may be commercially produced in pill, capsule or ampoule form. It is more popular with addicts than morphine since it gives a quicker and more intense "high".

Synthetics: for example pethidine
These normally appear in pill or ampoule form. The pills, which are odourless, are often white but may vary in colour.

Semi-synthetics: for example Dilaudid, Omnipon
These usually appear as odourless pills or ampoules.

This is usually found as white tablets or pills.

Opium and its derivatives are smoked, inhaled or injected through the skin (subcutaneously), or directly into the bloodstream (intravenously).

Associated equipment
This may consist of pipes, porcelain bowls, skewers, small peanut oil lamps, rags, charred silver foil, matchbox covers, hypodermic needles, eye droppers, etc. Possession of opium utensils is in itself an offence in many countries.


  • Identification of pills and capsules is possible by reference to manufacturers' charts. Information such as the diameter of the pill or tablet, its colour, its shape and any markings or scoring on the surface can often be radioed ahead and a tentative identification requested.

  • Ships' supplies of opium, in all its forms except raw and prepared, are generally permitted in small quantities under the control of the master or ship's doctor.

Special safety note:Narcotic fumes are generated at about 40ºC. If found, opium or its derivatives should be stored in a cool place. The fumes or vapours should not be inhaled.

Degree of addiction
Psychological addictionstrong
Environmental addictionstrong
Physical addictionstrong
Body tolerancehigh

Influence and symptoms
Moderate doses of pure opiates produce a range of generally mild physical effects (apart from analgesia). Like sedatives, they depress nervous system activity, including reflex functions such as coughing, respiration and heart rate. They also dilate blood vessels, giving a feeling of warmth, and depress bowel activity, resulting in constipation.

Immediately after taking the drug the user's eyes will become constricted. Subsequently the pupils will dilate and the drug will induce a drowsy torpid state in the addict, with dilated pupils, constipation and a slow response to stimuli. Symptoms similar to influenza or malaria but longer lasting will appear if the drug is withdrawn. In the longer term, loss of appetite and general apathy will result in the addict becoming emaciated and in poor health with poor hygiene.

There will be needle marks on the addicts' veins.

The addict generally uses around 0.25 g per day.

Popular myths

Fiction: the high purity of black market opiates is guaranteed.
Fact: purity at street level is usually 5-10%. Sugar, brickdust, caffeine, cement, milk
powder, urine, powdered glass etc are known adulterants to so-called "pure smack"
Fiction:it is easy to be cured.
Fact:research shows that of treated addicts, 10% have stayed off for more than 6 months
but only 2% or 3% for more than 2 years.
Fiction:the substance is not really dangerous.
Fact:the average life expectancy of a heroin or morphine addict is about 6-8 years. Some
can survive much longer. Many die within 4-5 years. AIDS can be transmitted by
using infected needles or syringes.

Quantities of shipment
Usually from 5 kg to 75 kg.

Sedative drugs

Sedatives depress the nervous system in the same way as alcohol, producing similar effects. They come in two forms: barbiturates and methaqualone.

In their pure form all are white powders. There are many hundreds of brand names when the substances are found as pills, tablets and capsules.

All discoveries of apparent medical preparations outside their normal context should be regarded as suspicious.

All forms are normally odourless.

Pills are usually taken orally, sometimes with alcohol. Occasionally the substances may be injected.

Associated equipment
Usually none, except empty wrappings. Occasionally hypodermic syringes and needles.

There are many other forms of sedative which are available on prescription. Although the above forms are controlled, numerous other sedatives can be equally abused (for example diazepam, marketed as Librium, etc.).

Degree of addiction
Psychological addictionstrong
Environmental addictionfairly strong
Physical addictionfairly strong
Body tolerancefairly strong

Influence and symptoms
The user will exhibit dilated pupils, drowsy appearance and slurred speech. There can be extreme unpredictable emotional reactions and mental confusion. Large doses can produce unconsciousness, eventual respiratory failure and death.

Popular myths

Fiction: not a dangerous drug, easy to get hold of, cheaper than the hard drugs.
Fact: it is easily overdosed. Where prescription control exists, each illicit tablet may cost
many times the "white" market price.

Synthetic or designer drugs: The United Nations uses this term to describe the illicit drugs deriving from chemical modification of matrix substances, the latter sometimes corresponding to pharmacological compounds.

This category includes MDMA (Ecstasy).

3,4 methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), popularly known as "Ecstasy", is a substance of abuse belonging to the group of so-called designer drugs. It was synthesized in 1910 by Manis and Jacobson and patented by Merck Laboratories in Germany in 1914 as an anorexic drug, but not marketed. Not until the 1970s and 1980s was it used again, this time for drug treatment testing, and in 1985 it was shown to have a neurotoxic effect on animals and classified as a restricted substance. It is made in clandestine laboratories for recreational use, and in the form known as MDMA it has given rise in Europe and the United States to the "rave" movement, which is characterized by high-tempo parties at which the drinks are mixed with amino-acids and caffeine to achieve a stimulant effect.

Stimulant drugs

Among the main stimulants are amphetamine salts and sulphate, phenmetrazine, benzphetamine, chlorphentamine, fencamfamine, mephentamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), pemoline, phendimetrazine, phentermine, pipradol and prolintane.

Amphetamine products, legally manufactured, contain the drug in the form of the sulphate or phosphate salt. They are marketed in different countries as tablets, capsules, syrups or elixirs. In pure form all are white powders except pipradol which is found as white crystals. There are many hundreds of brand names. They are usually found in pill or tablet form or as capsules, but occasionally in ampoules for injection.

All are stimulant drugs, but fencamfamine has been decontrolled to prescription availability. Identification of individual pills and capsules is possible by consulting manufacturers' charts. Information such as the diameter of pill or tablet, colour, shape and markings can be radioed from the ship to the next port of call to obtain a tentative identification.

Illicit products vary in colour from a white or off-white powder to yellow or brown depending on the type and amount of impurities and adulterants. They are often damp, with a characteristic unpleasant odour due to the presence of solvent residues. They can be found as small gelatin capsules and as tablets.

All discoveries of apparently medical preparations outside their normal context should be regarded as suspicious.

All are normally odourless. Pure forms of amphetamine may smell faintly ammoniac or "fishy".

Pills are usually taken orally or as a powder either sniffed, smoked or dissolved in water andinjected. They are frequently taken in association with alcohol. Dosages of 200 tablets a day are common among addicts.

Associated equipment
Usually none, except empty wrappings. Occasionally hypodermic syringes and needles.

Influence and symptoms
Amphetamines arouse and activate the user much as the body's natural adrenalin does. Breathing and heart rate speed up, the user will exhibit dilated pupils and a depressed appetite. The user feels more energetic, confident, excited and cheerful and will exhibit erratic behaviour and extreme sociability.

High doses can produce delirium, panic, hallucination and a feeling of persecution which, in the longer term, can develop into a psychotic state from which it can take several months to recover. Regular users of high dosages also risk damaged blood vessels or heart failure.

As the body's energy stores become depleted, the predominant feelings may become anxiety, irritability and restlessness and hunger.

Popular myths

Fiction: they are totally harmless. They just pep you up.
Fact: instances of renal failure have been reported and these substances are known to affect other internal organs.
Fiction:they are all different.
Fact:each of the types has many hundreds of brands. Often the addict will swear that only "Purple Hearts" will work whereas "Peaches" will not. Both contain the same quantity of the same drug. Only the colour and the presentation are different.

Quantities of shipment
Not usually found in commercial quantities in maritime freight.


Alles dichtklappenAlles openklappen
Naar boven