An international criminal investigation in which Ukraine’s State Border-Guard Service (UASBGS) relayed vital intelligence and EUBAM facilitated contacts with international agencies has resulted in the seizure of a vessel carrying illegal migrants in Turkey.
The vessel, which departed to Izmir, Turkey, from Ukraine last week and was ultimately bound for the European Union, raised the suspicions of the Southern Regional Directorate of the UASBGS, which passed on its concerns to EUBAM.
EUBAM in turn engaged its international partners, in particular the South-east European Law-Enforcement Center (SELEC), in order to alert Turkish authorities to the impending arrival of the vessel in Izmir.
In Izmir, the Turkish authorities performed an examination of the vessel and detained four individuals (three Ukrainians and one Turk) who were involved in the smuggling of 76 illegal migrants (64 from Myanmar, six from Afghanistan, and six from Syria).
From EUBAM’s point of view, the operation served as another good example of the importance of risk analysis, prompt provision of operational information, and efficient communication and coordination, in enhancing international law-enforcement cooperation in order to counteract international organised crime and – as in this case – to protect the well-being of migrants undertaking hazardous journeys to the EU by sea.