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.

Information: Update

There are currently no CAF members or assets deployed on Operation CARIBBE.

Operation CARIBBE 2018

In the month of April, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Whitehorse and Edmonton completed their deployments on Operation CARIBBE. Since the end of February 2018, the ships assisted the United States Coast Guard to seize or disrupt close to 3,000 kg of cocaine during three separate interceptions. This occurred in the eastern Pacific Ocean. In total, the two ships traveled 21,950 nautical miles.

On March 24, 2018, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Whitehorse helped the US Coast Guard seize about 30 kg and disrupt an estimated 845 kg of cocaine. The suspected smugglers threw 875 kg of cocaine overboard from their panga-style-vessel and fled the scene. A 30 kg bale of cocaine was recovered from the ocean. Whitehorse’s boats carrying US Coast Guard law enforcement gave chase.

On April 3, 2018, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Edmonton helped the US Coast Guard seize about 461 kg of cocaine. The panga-style vessel surrendered without chase. US Coast Guard law enforcement boarded the vessel and seized 23 bales of cocaine. They also detained the four crew members.

On April 5, 2018, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Whitehorse helped the US Coast Guard seize about 1520 kg of cocaine. Two boats with USCG law enforcement were launched to stop the boat. The boat was a 60-foot fishing vessel towing seven panga-style boats. The fishing vessel got underway, and the seven pangas scattered in multiple directions. Some of them threw objects overboard as they went, and some deployed fishing gear. The boats pursued and stopped the fleeing pangas. USCG law enforcement located six bales floating in the water. They seized another 20 bales of cocaine weighing about 1520 kg. They also detained the 20 crew members.

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

2017

2017

In 2017, the CAF sent aircraft and warships on Operation CARIBBE:

  • one CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft;
  • three maritime coastal defence vessels. These were: HMCS Nanaimo, Moncton, and Saskatoon; and
  • one frigate, HMCS Ottawa.

In 2017, the CAF contributed to the US Coast Guard seizing or disrupting approximately 11.5 metric tonnes of illicit drugs.

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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