Data shows smuggling, bogus logs, unusual coastal stop-offs and inexplicable voyages.
As Europe’s politicians struggle to control a deepening migrant crisis and staunch the rising threat of Islamist terrorism on their borders, little attention is being paid to the continent’s biggest frontier: the sea.
New data highlight the extent to which smuggling, bogus shipping logs, unusual coastal stop-offs and inexplicable voyages are increasing across the Mediterranean and Atlantic for ships passing through Europe’s ports – with little or nothing being done to combat the trend, according to a detailed report in The Financial Times.
There is currently no comprehensive system to track shipments and cargos through EU ports and along its approximately 70,000km of coastline – a deficiency that has long been exploited by organised criminals and which could increasingly prove irresistible to terrorists too, say European security officials.
In January, 540 cargo ships entered European ports after passing through the territorial waters of terrorist hotspots Syria and Libya, as well as Lebanon, for unclear or uneconomic reasons during the course of their voyages.