The fourth Caribbean Basin Coastal Surveillance and Maritime Security conference began in Barbados on Wednesday with the European Union announcing that it would provide Euro 2.5 million towards the fight against drug trafficking and international criminal networks in the Caribbean.

Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, said that the funding, which is being provided through the EU Seaport Co-operation Project (SEACOP) will assist with the establishment of joint national maritime intelligence units, a regional maritime information system, as well as regional and trans-regional networking and technical assistance.

The development of such infrastructure should lead to increased targeting of suspected vessels, a unified maritime intelligence system, increased drug seizures and enhanced multi-agency co-operation.

"Coastal surveillance and maritime security is very important to the Caribbean and Europe, since both have a common purpose, which is the eradication of drug trafficking in the region," the European diplomat told the two-day conference.

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