International drug gangs abuse a Dutch certificate at sea. With that document, which is issued on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, it seems as if international criminals sail under the Dutch flag. In this way, the Netherlands unintentionally facilitates large-scale drug shipments.
It is all about the International Certificate for Recreational Craft, ICP for short. It is a kind of registration certificate, but for pleasure yachts. Southern European countries and a European police organization are now raising the alarm about misuse of the document. The paper is easy to obtain and only costs a few tens. The control of the request is limited. Legally, the document is hardly anything.
Nieuwsuur has been investigating the controversial document in recent months. Via the Atlantic Ocean, Italy and Spain, we arrived at a residential area in Leeuwarden and a water sports association in Utrecht. We explain in this video how we arrived at our revelations:
Last month, Spanish authorities seized 35 tons of hashish, the largest Spanish drug seizure ever at sea. That happened during Goleta-Gratil Operation. In addition, the Spanish authorities boarded several luxury sailing yachts in a spectacular way.
News hour was confirmed that at least two of the five boarded ships were sailing under a Dutch ICP. The bales of hash were piled up in the hold as if they were sacks of rice.
Check out pictures of the drug packages released by the Spanish police below:
MAOC, a European anti-drug unit that focuses on drug smuggling by sea, sees that the ICP is increasingly used in large-scale drug smuggling. Smugglers pretend to be pleasure sailors sailing under the Dutch flag.
Michael O’Sullivan, director of MAOC, knows that it is easy to get a Dutch ICP. “Police work would be easier if registering a boat was made as difficult as possible.”
“Why do criminals choose the Dutch ICP? Because they choose the path of least resistance,” he says. There are no exact figures on ICP abuse, but O’Sullivan says the numbers are “significant.”
The CDA and the PvdA, which already reacted critically to yesterday’s message, find the news of drug smuggling very worrying. “I think that the Netherlands should be one of the countries that shows internationally that we are tackling drug trafficking very hard. And that we are also taking the lead in this. And now we are actually making smuggling possible through an invalid certificate. Absolutely undesirable” , says PvdA member Gijs van Dijk.
CDA member Pieter Omtzigt calls it very “bad”. “Because we want to tackle the fight against drugs in Europe. There are significant strides to be made. Both in the Netherlands, and then I think of Customs in the port of Rotterdam, which I am very concerned about. But also this. drug smuggling elsewhere in Europe, then there is also a task for the Netherlands to ensure that this is no longer possible. “
Both parties want to get rid of the ICP as soon as possible. Van Dijk: “The supervision and issuing of property should be in the public hands.” The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, responsible for the issue of the ICP, says it is working on tightening the issue to prevent abuse.
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