Spotlight News 11/01/2016

BSI Analysis: Over 200 Migrants Storm Spanish Territory of Ceuta From Morocco, Highlighting Stowaway Introduction Risk in Areas Facing Migrant Build-ups

An estimated 220 migrants stormed into the territory of Ceuta, an exclave of Spain bordering Morocco on the North African coast, by pushing through a border fence. Spanish security forces clashed with the migrants, and a total of 35 people, including 32 migrants and three police officers, were injured. Authorities indicated some of the migrants fled further into the territory, while officials are still working to determine whether the other migrants will be able to apply for asylum.

The incident underscores the considerable risk of stowaway introductions into cargo shipments departing areas facing significant build-ups of migrants, including areas on the North African coast such as Ceuta and the other nearby Spanish exclave, Melilla. BSI previously recorded multiple cases of stowaway attempts into containers and ferry-bound cargo trucks departing these exclaves. In recent years, migrant flows through these territories have dropped and shifted to other areas, such as Libya, after Spanish authorities passed a law allowing police to prohibit asylum applications from migrants. However, the ongoing imposition of border controls in Europe is likely contributing to a general increase in attempts by migrants to reach the continent at numerous locations throughout the Mediterranean region. These increased irregular migration attempts in general are very likely to heighten the risk of stowaway introductions into cargo consignments specifically, especially at known smuggling hubs such as these two North African Spanish territories.

Police in Indonesia Seize 1.5 Tonnes of Marijuana From Cargo Truck and Bust International Drug Smuggling Ring

Police in the Jakarta capital region of Indonesia intercepted a cargo truck carrying 1.5 tonnes of marijuana hidden in 120 sacks of staple foods at the exit of the Tangerang-Banten highway. The cargo truck was traveling from Aceh, located in northwestern Indonesia, to a warehouse in Bogor, south of Jakarta. Following the seizure of marijuana, authorities raided and dismantled the alleged operations center of an international drug ring in Cawang, East Jakarta. A police investigation found that members of the drug ring also actively operate in the port area in Jakarta and were previously involved with the smuggling of seven kilograms of methamphetamine from Malaysia. During the raid operation, police also seized additional 14,000 ecstasy pills and three kilograms of methamphetamine.

BSI previously recorded a trafficking group attempting to smuggle 1.7 tonnes of marijuana from Aceh to Jakarta’s port area, and onward to Taiwan. Notably, BSI has recorded a dramatic increase in the number of seizures of illicit drugs in Indonesia from cargo trucks and sea containers so far this year, including ecstasy pills, marijuana, methamphetamine, and cannabis. The incidents involved large volumes of illicit drugs being introduced into cargo trucks within the country, and also highlighted the strong possibility that international drug rings are exploiting port areas to facilitate illicit drug trade into and out of the country.

Low Water Levels Decrease Capacity of Cargo Transport Vessels on Major Shipping Waterways in Germany

Recent dry weather in river catchment areas in Germany and Switzerland caused water levels in the Rhine and Danube rivers to drop especially low, decreasing the capacity of cargo transport vessels transiting these waterways. The rivers are major shipping lanes for freight transported across Germany, especially shipments of grains, minerals, and fossil fuels. Shipping sources indicate some vessels are only able to carry about 40 percent of the volume of their usual loads, causing the remaining consignments to be split among multiple other vessels and increasing the total cost to ship the goods. Forecasts indicate that rain will not fall at sufficient levels in the catchment areas in the coming days, highlighting the likelihood that shipping capacity on the Rhine and Danube rivers will continue to be reduced in the near term.