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Minister for Defence Mr Simon Coveney T.D.

24 September 2014
Re: Maritime interdiction operation on sailing vessel “Makayabella”


The Minister for Defence Mr Simon Coveney T.D. has congratulated the Naval Service, An Garda Síochána and the Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners on their highly successful drug interdiction operation, off the south west coast, which resulted in the seizure of a significant quantity of suspected controlled drugs in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Speaking today, Minister Coveney stated:

“The success of this operation once again brings into focus the importance of the role of the Joint Task Force on Drug Interdiction in combating drug trafficking. In particular, I wish to acknowledge the huge contribution to the success of this operation made by the members of the Naval Service, An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Customs Service.

As Minister for Defence, I wish to congratulate the Naval Service for its pivotal role in the success of this operation and, in particular, to commend the Officers Commanding LÉ Niamh and LÉ Róisín and their respective crews. I also wish to acknowledge the role of the Air Corps in providing top-cover support during the operation.

Furthermore, this operation has once again highlighted the value of the EU Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre for Narcotics as an effective international coordination force to tackle large drug shipments by sea.”

END



NOTE FOR EDITORS:

Primary responsibility for the prevention of drug trafficking rests with the Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners whilst An Garda Síochána has primary responsibility for the prevention of crime.

The Naval Service provides the maritime element of the Defence Forces and operates eight general purpose patrol vessels. All eight vessels are involved in coastal and offshore patrolling in that part of the seas where State jurisdiction applies.

The Joint Task Force on Drug Interdiction was established in 1993 as a Government measure to improve law enforcement in relation to drugs and consists of members of An Garda Síochána, the Customs Service and the Naval Service.

Internationally, the establishment in 2007 of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N) has led to a greater focus on intelligence exchange amongst countries to tackle large drug shipments by sea. MAOC-N was set up by seven European countries and is designed as an international co-ordination force with access to national tasking agencies and requires participation and resources from all active members. An Garda Síochána and the Customs Service have full-time officers based at the Centre in Lisbon. Naval Service personnel travel to the Centre when requested by the Joint Task Force.

In recent years, the Naval Service was also involved in two significant drug interdiction operations; one in 2007 in Dunlough Bay and one off the West Cork coast in 2008. These inter-agency operations resulted in the seizure of 3.2 tonnes of cocaine which had an approximate street value of €1.2 billion.



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