The ‘southern route’ and Indian ocean maritime crime

Presented by ANU College of Law

As the flow of Afghan narcotics through Central Europe and the Balkans reduces under pressure from local and regional law enforcement, so the flow south across the Indian Ocean into East Africa and South Asia continues to rise. In this presentation, Alan will describe the scale and nature of the Southern Maritime Route, and the strategies UNODC are employing on land to support national and international interdiction. A key theme will be how the model used to tackle Somali Piracy offers an excellent model for tackling the trafficking of heroin on the Southern Maritime Route.

Alan Cole OBE joined the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime initially to deliver its response to Somali piracy. Prior to joining UNODC he served for 18 years in the UK Royal Navy in frigates, destroyers and submarines.

He qualified as a barrister in 1999 and practiced in both civilian and military courts as a prosecutor and defence advocate. He served as the senior military lawyer to the Commander of UK Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006–07, advising on all aspects of targeting, detention operations and use of force. Alan subsequently served on a joint UK/US team in Baghdad engaging with the leadership of Iraqi armed groups. He was appointed OBE in 2008 for this work. Alan served as legal advisor to Combined Maritime Forces, based in Bahrain and engaged in a range of maritime security operations in the Gulf and Northern Indian Ocean. He co-authored the US Navy War College led Multinational Rules of Engagement Manual which has subsequently been translated into Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish and published by the International Institute for Humanitarian Law.

Since joining UNODC, Alan has established programmes in East Africa to support regional criminal justice systems with the investigation and trial of persons suspected of maritime and other transnational organised crime. He heads a team of 50 staff in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania and across Somalia addressing maritime crime, terrorism, people trafficking, migrant smuggling, narcotics trafficking, wildlife crime and piracy. He also leads UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme which delivers support to states in West Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in addressing maritime crime.