Four arrested in takedown of dark web child abuse platform with some half a million users

Between 1 and 30 March 2021, 300 companies throughout 67 international locations joined forces towards marine air pollution in the course of the third world operation 30 Days at Sea. Europol and Frontex co-ordinated the European leg of the operation, as a part of the EMPACT motion plan on environmental crime, whereas INTERPOL co-ordinated the worldwide actions. The actions led to the identification of quite a few crimes starting from unlawful discharge to waste trafficking and the investigation of hundreds of suspects worldwide.   

Frontline motion adopted 5 months of intelligence assortment and evaluation, enabling collaborating international locations to establish hotspots and targets.

The simultaneous actions in March led to:

  • 34,000 inspections at sea and inland waterways, coastal areas and ports; 
  • 1,600 marine air pollution offences detected in complete;
  • 500 unlawful acts of air pollution dedicated at sea, together with oil discharges, unlawful shipbreaking and sulphur emissions from vessels;
  • 1,000 air pollution offences in coastal areas and in rivers, together with unlawful discharges of contaminants;
  • 130 instances of waste trafficking via ports.

By utilizing INTERPOL’s big selection of databases and analytical capabilities, international locations had been in a position to join air pollution crime with different severe crimes corresponding to fraud, corruption, tax evasion, cash laundering, piracy, and unlawful fishing. 

Criminals try and abuse the pandemic additionally at sea

With many enforcement assets being reassigned to deal with the pandemic, criminals have been fast to use rising vulnerabilities in several crime areas together with environmental crime. Inspections uncovered typical types of marine air pollution crime, from vessel discharges to waste trafficking by sea, but additionally felony traits which have been rising amid the pandemic. Growing traits included COVID-19 disposable objects corresponding to masks and gloves, with 13 instances involving medical waste opened because of the operation. 

A serious felony community trafficking plastic waste between Europe and Asia was uncovered, triggering cooperation between authorities from each areas. So far, 22 suspects have been arrested and hundreds of tonnes of waste have been prevented from being illegally shipped to Asia. It is extremely probably that the waste would have probably been dumped there, contaminating soils and producing appreciable marine litter.

Several international locations from Europe, Asia and Africa reported unlawful shipments of contaminated or blended metallic waste falsely declared as metallic scraps. In one case, the Italian Coast Guard seized and prevented 11 000 tonnes of metallic scraps blended with plastic, rubber, mineral oil and different contaminants from being loaded onto bulk carriers headed for Turkey. Namibia, the Philippines and Croatia additionally reported instances of unlawful waste shipments from Europe.

Global coordination to counter the air pollution of our seas

Europol and FRONTEX (European Border and Coast Guard Agency) coordinated the European leg of 30 Days at Sea 3.0, whereas INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Programme coordinating the operation globally. 

Europol’s Executive Director Catherine De Bolle mentioned: “Marine pollution is a serious threat, which endangers not only the environment but our health and in the long run our global economy. Criminals do not care about the environment; they do not think of tomorrow, but only of increasing their profits on the back of our society. Consolidated law enforcement efforts such as the operation 30 Days at Sea are critical to tackle these borderless crimes and protect our environmental heritage for generations to come.”

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock mentioned: “The threat of pollution crime is constantly evolving, endangering the air we breathe, our water and soil. Although this is the third edition of 30 Days at Sea, it is never the same exercise. 

It is thanks to a global yet agile network that we have seen the number of inspections more than double since the first edition: a clear sign that the international community will not stand for criminal attacks on our environment.”

“Environmental crime is one of many criminal activities Frontex targets as part of our mission as the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. This is our contribution to the protection of the environment. I’m proud that, as part of 30 Days at Sea, Frontex aerial and maritime assets monitored nearly 1 000 vessels,” mentioned Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

All three editions of Operation 30 Days at Sea 3.0 have been carried out with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

*Participating international locations:

17 EU Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden

50 non-EU international locations: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chilie, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Dem Rep Congo, Ecuador Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Malaysia, Maldives, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Zimbabwe Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, we assist the 27 EU member states of their struggle towards terrorism, cybercrime and different severe and organised types of crime. We additionally work with many non-EU companion states and worldwide organisations. From its numerous risk assessments to its intelligence-gathering and operational actions, Europol has the instruments and assets it must do its half in making Europe safer.

In 2010 the European Union arrange a four-year Policy Cycle to make sure higher continuity within the struggle towards severe worldwide and arranged crime. In 2017 the Council of the EU determined to proceed the EU Policy Cycle for the 2018 – 2021 interval. It goals to deal with essentially the most vital threats posed by organised and severe worldwide crime to the EU. This is achieved by enhancing and strengthening cooperation between the related providers of EU member states, establishments and companies, in addition to non-EU international locations and organisations, together with the non-public sector the place related. Environmental crime is among the priorities for the Policy Cycle.

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