Operation CARIBBE

Operation CARIBBE takes place in Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Under this operation, Canada sends Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) ships and aircraft to help Operation MARTILLO. This United States-led effort involves fourteen countries and aims to stop trafficking.

Attention: News from Operation CARIBBE

On October 31, 2017, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Nanaimo helped the United States Coast Guard (USCG) seize 478 kg of cocaine from a suspect vessel in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

After stopping the vessel, HMCS Nanaimo launched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat carrying a USCG law enforcement detachment (LEDET) to board the vessel. The LEDET then apprehended three suspected smugglers.

The cocaine weighing 478 kg was packaged in small amounts and stored throughout the vessel. This cocaine was later transferred to a USCG cutter. Further, on November 1, 2017, the suspected smugglers were transported to a USCG cutter on patrol in the region.

Operation CARIBBE 2017

Deployed in October 2017, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Nanaimo and Moncton are taking part in Operation CARIBBE. HMCS Nanaimo is patrolling in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and HMCS Moncton is patrolling in the Caribbean Sea. These maritime coastal defence vessels will be deployed until December 2017. A CP-140 Aurora aircraft will deploy later in the year to provide surveillance over the eastern Pacific Ocean.

In September 2017, HMCS Ottawa patrolled the eastern Pacific with an embarked US Coast Guard Law Enforement Detachment. It also used its on-board sensors to enhance maritime awareness at a shore-based command centre.

From February 27 to April 20, 2017, HMCS Saskatoon was deployed on Operation CARIBBE. It assisted the US Coast Guard in seizing approximately 1124 kg of cocaine and disrupting an estimated 1500 kg of cocaine:

  • April 13 and 14, 2017: Two disruptions totaling an estimated 1500 kg of cocaine. Read more.
  • April 6, 2017: Seizure of 464 kg of cocaine. Read more.
  • March 12, 2017: Seizure of approximately 660 kg of cocaine. Read more.

Each of these events took place in international waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

2017 is the 11th year that the CAF has conducted Operation CARIBBE. During this mission, the CAF works with partners to help stop global drug trafficking.

The task force

Canada sends Royal Canadian Navy warships and crews on this mission. They work with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and United States Navy.  Canada also sends CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The warships find and track vessels of interest. The USCG law enforcement teams then approach and intercept them. The teams then board and inspect the ship and cargo.

CP-140 Aurora aircraft and their crews detect and track vessels and aircraft of interest. They patrol in international airspace. The area covers the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Mission context

Operation CARIBBE began in November 2006. In October 2010, it expanded with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. and Canada. The MOU allows U.S. Coast Guard teams to operate from Canadian warships.

Operation MARTILLO (U.S.-led)

Operation MARTILLO began in January 2012.  It covers the Caribbean Sea, the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the international waters off the coast of Central America.  Fourteen nations work together to stop illegal trafficking. The United States leads the operation.

There is a large U.S. task force made up from federal departments. These are Homeland Security (mainly the U.S. Coast Guard), Treasury, State and Justice, and Defense.

Joint Inter-Agency Task Force South leads the operation. It reports to United States Southern Command. It brings together other agencies and other countries to reduce illegal trafficking. It also provides all-source intelligence for the operation.

Operation MARTILLO shows that the countries that take part are committed to stopping the threat of large-scale organized crime.  It also shows how important it is for law-enforcement agencies to work together and share information.

Legal parameters

The work to stop trafficking began in 1931 with the Paris Convention. This was a drug-control treaty sponsored by the League of Nations.

In 1961, the United Nations issued its Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This added synthetic opioid drugs to the list of materials in the Paris Convention.

Ten years later, the global effort to control drugs grew with two more legal steps. The first was the 1971 U.N. Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The second was the 1972 revision of the U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

The U.N. Convention on the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was passed in 1988. This made international trade in illegal drugs a criminal act.

Two more U.N. conventions strengthened the legal grounding. The first was the 2000 U.N. Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. The second was the 2003 U.N. Convention on Corruption. They connected trafficking, organized crime and corruption under international law.

Past deployments - the results

2016

2016

In 2016, the CAF sent aircraft and warships on Operation CARIBBE:

  • One CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft
  • Six maritime coastal defence vessels. These were: HMC Ships Brandon, Edmonton (sent twice), Kingston, Moncton, Saskatoon, and Summerside.

Canada’s warships, aircraft and their crews were key to stopping the flow of drugs. The CP-140 Aurora flew 70 hours. The ships sailed a total of 347 days. About 5,700 kg of cocaine and 1,500 kg of marijuana were seized or stopped.

2016 marked the 10th year of Operation CARIBBE. By 2016, the CAF had helped seize or stop about 66 metric tonnes of cocaine and 4 metric tonnes of marijuana since Operation CARIBBE began.

2015

2015

In 2015, the CAF sent warships, aircraft, and their crews on Operation CARIBBE:

  • Four CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft
  • Five maritime coastal defence vessels (HMC Ships Brandon, Goose Bay, Nanaimo, Shawinigan and Whitehorse)
  • Two Halifax-class frigates (HMC Ships Winnipeg and Vancouver)
  • One Iroquois-class destroyer (HMCS Athabaskan)
  • A total of four CH-124 Sea King Helicopters went with their ships.

CAF warships, aircraft and crews were key to the operation’s success in 2015. The warships sailed a total of 344 days. The CP-140 Auroras flew 321 hours. The CH-124 Sea Kings flew 150 hours. The CAF helped seize or stop about18.5 metric tonnes of cocaine and 3 metric tonnes of marijuana. This was more than in any other year since 2006.

2014

2014

In 2014, the CAF sent warships, aircraft, and their crews on Operation CARIBBE

  • Four CP-140 Aurora aircraft
  • Nine warships:  HMCS Nanaimo, Whitehorse, Glace Bay, Summerside, Athabaskan, Calgary, Brandon, Yellowknife and Kingston.

The ships sailed a total of 281 days. The CP-140 Auroras flew 310 hours. The CH-124 Sea Kings from the ships flew 185 hours. CAF warships, aircraft and crews helped seize or stop about 5380 kg of cocaine and about 540 kg of marijuana.

2013

2013

In 2013, the CAF sent warships, aircraft and their crews on Operation CARIBBE:

  • Four maritime coastal defence vessels (HMC Ships Edmonton, Kingston, Summerside and Yellowknife )
  • Two Halifax-class frigates (HMC Ships Ottawa and Ville de Québec)
  • One supply vessel (HMCS Preserver)
  • One Victoria-class submarine (HMCS Victoria)
  • Four CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft

The CAF helped seize or stop about 6400 kg of cocaine.

2012

2012

In 2012, the CAF sent warships, aircraft and their crews  on Operation CARIBBE:

  • Six warships ((HMC Ships Kingston, Goose Bay, St Johns, Preserver, Iroquois and Ottawa)
  • Five CP-140 Aurora aircraft

The CAF helped intercept about 8060 kg of cocaine. HMCS Ottawa is credited with about 3000 kg of the total. The CP-140 Auroras helped locate the other about 5060 kg. The warships and aircraft patrolled in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

2011

2011

In 2011, the CAF sent warships, aircraft, and their crews on Operation CARIBBE:

  • Two destroyers (HMC Ships Athabaskan and Algonquin)
  • Two frigates (HMC Ships Toronto and St. John’s)
  • Four maritime coastal defence vessels (HMC Ships Goose Bay, Kingston, Moncton and Summerside)
  • One submarine (HMCS Corner Brook)
  • Five CP-140 Aurora aircraft

HMCS St. John’s helped the USCG Cutter Cypress recover about 6,750 kg of cocaine from a scuttled home-made submarine. HMCS Toronto handed over a small boat loaded with about 1700 kg of cocaine to the Nicaraguan Navy.

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