Operation CARRIBE (Central and South America)

Summary

  • Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s contribution to the United States (US)-led counter-smuggling operation in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Canada has deployed maritime vessels, aircraft, and personnel to the region as part of Operation CARIBBE since 2006.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces activities through Operation CARIBBE are an important demonstration of the Government of Canada’s commitment to greater security in Canada and North America.

Background

  • Operation CARIBBE supports the activities of US Joint Interagency Task Force South under US Operation MARTILLO, which aims to stop illicit trafficking of drugs, weapons, money, and people in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.
  • Operation MARTILLO has broad international and regional support. Partner nations contributing to Op MARTILLO include key Allies (the United Kingdom (UK), France, the Netherlands, and Spain), as well as regional partners such as Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Since 2006, under Operation CARIBBE, Canada has deployed naval vessels and aircraft (CP-140 Aurora Long Range Patrol Aircraft) to provide air and maritime surveillance in order to track and detect vessels and aircraft of interest in regional waters and international airspace. In October 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding with the US expanded the operation’s mandate from detection and monitoring only to allowing US Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment teams to embark and operate from Canadian assets.
  • Since 2006, the Canadian Armed Forces have contributed to the disruption or seizure of approximately 100.2 tonnes of cocaine and 6.7 tonnes of marijuana. Recent deployments have seen particular success assisting in the disruption and seizure of more than 11.5 tonnes of illicit drugs (2017) and 9.9 tonnes of cocaine (fall 2018).
  • The number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel participating in Operation CARIBBE varies with the length of the deployment and the assets employed.
  • The last Operation CARIBBE deployment occurred from 25 March to 6 May 2019, when two Kingston Class Coastal Defence Vessels and one CP-140 Aurora aircraft deployed to the eastern Pacific Ocean and assisted in the seizure of 2.7 tonnes of narcotics.
  • The next Operation CARIBBE deployment will take place in November and December 2019 and will include a CP-140 Aurora. Planning for the first 2020 deployment is currently underway.

Considerations

  • Operation CARIBBE is a strong demonstration of Canada’s commitment to a number of defence priorities and objectives as outlined in Canada’s defence policy, Strong Secure Engaged, including: the security of Canada and North America, bilateral defence partnership with the US, promoting Canadian interests and values abroad, and fostering regional interoperability in the Americas.
  • The operation also contributes to policy direction under Strong Secure Engaged, that the Royal Canadian Navy will have the capacity to maintain a routine presence in Canada’s three oceans and contribute to operations in support of North American security, including in the Caribbean.
  • During Operation CARIBBE, Canadian Armed Forces members and assets are not directly involved in law enforcement operations or the detention of vessels or persons.
  • Occasionally, Royal Canadian Navy ships must temporarily bring smugglers on board under safety of life at sea provisions. During such occasions, detainees remain “Persons Under Custody” of US Coast Guard Law Enforcement until they can be transferred to a US Coast Guard ship.
  • The estimated cost for Operation CARIBBE for fiscal year 2018-19 is $5.4 million.
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