This publication provides guidance on how to combat drug trafficking at sea and to recognise the signs of drug use and dependence among crew members.


Considered the leading industry publication on the topic, this 6th edition has been fully updated by industry experts to assist shipping companies, Masters and officers, to help prepare, prevent, protect and how to respond when faced with drug trafficking and drug abuse at sea,

Drug trafficking is undertaken by sea because of the opportunities presented for high volume movements from producing to consuming countries.

Commercial shipping, unfortunately, can unwittingly play a significant part in the transportation of illicit drugs to the places where they are consumed. The shipping industry therefore shares a collective responsibility to assist in combatting this illegal traffic. This requires shipping companies, and ships’ crews, to be constantly aware of the possibility that ships, and the cargo they carry, may be used as a cover for drug smuggling.

Drug abuse also presents a serious threat to ships’ crews, compounded by the direct connection between intravenous drug use and its associated health risks.  It also exposes crews to the wider consequences of being associated with serious criminal activity, a particular danger in those parts of the world where the strict rule of law cannot be taken for granted or where the death penalty for drug trafficking still applies.
The guidance contained in this publication demonstrates how to protect the ship and the crew and reduce the risk of drug trafficking occurring on board.

The publication covers:
•             Key global trafficking routes
•             Ports and places commonly targeted by drug traffickers
•             High profile drug seizures
•             Vulnerabilities of shipping
•             Risk management and security strategy
•             Ship security procedures
•             Port facility security procedures
•             Training and education
•             Emerging drug trends, including drug characteristics and identification
•             Responding to unusual activity at sea, in port, or involving passengers or crew
•             The signs of drug/alcohol use by crew members
•             What to do when drugs are found on board.

It also includes a new section on cyber security measures and drug trafficking in the COVID-19 era.