09.07.2012, 15:16

Joint AT-BG-RO-SRB Table-top-exercise for Combating Organized Crime - In the Framework of Priority Area 11 “Security” of EUSDR and PCC SEE

The PCC SEE Secretariat organised a joint table-top-exercise between Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia for Combating Organized Crime in the Framework of Priority Area 11 “Security” of EUSDR and PCC SEE which took place from 29 – 30 June 2012.

On 29th June 2012 the PCC SEE was presented as an appropriate and common legal base for cooperation in SEE region, which can also be used between partners in the DANUBE STRATEGY. Experts in the field of combating Organized Crime from Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia worked  on a Scenario for Undercover Operation, Controlled Delivery, Information exchange – Smuggling of precursors, and turned it into an operation plan. Each country then also presented its procedures in such situation – both with regard to international cooperation and the coordination and interaction between different competent units on national level.

On 30th June 2012, as one of the coordinators of Priority area 11 “Security”, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria organised a joint real-doing exercise with the Romanian side in the area of Vidin – Calafat, aimed at enhancing the coordination of actions related to solving a crisis situation on a vessel.

The exercise consisted of controlled delivery of precursor chemicals for drug-production that were being smuggled on a ferry-boat in direction to Black Sea harbour. Two undercover officers have successfully been boarded onto the ferry in order to identify the perpetrators accompanying the shipment but before the ferry reached the Bulgarian bank the perpetrators were warned of the forthcoming arrest. As a result the ship and the passengers were taken hostage. Decision was made to start negotiations with the criminals and also to carry out a special police operation. A joint operation of the SWAT teams was carried out on the ferry, in parallel by air (by the Bulgarian teams) and by water (by Romanian teams), and control over the ferry was restored. During the SWAT operation there was an explosion on the ferry and some passengers have been injured, two of them very severely. Because of the blast of the explosion the fuel started flowing in the Danube. As the ship captain moved the ferry to the quay, the Fire Safety and Civil Protection unit started rescuing the passengers. The border police arranged a check point for the persons on the ferry and the Fire Safety and Civil Protection unit and representatives from the Bulgarian Red Cross took the injured to the post for assistance and first aid. Two severely injured passengers were at that time taken to the advanced medical post that was deployed by the Romanian side in Bulgaria. The perpetrators have been arrested and taken to the nearest police station for questioning.

During the exercise the participating parties had to follow all proper procedures related to Cross-border Cooperation in respect to Cross-border surveillance, Controlled delivery, Undercover investigations, and Undercover investigations.

After the exercise the conclusions, recommendations for amendments in the national procedures and international arrangements were presented to EU Commissioner HAHN who observed the real-doing-exercise between Bulgaria and Romania “Exercise for Solving Crisis Situation in the Framework of Priority Area 11 “Security” of EUSDR and Assisting the Goals of Priority Area 3 “Tourism” of EUSDR.

For more questions please contact Mr. Thomas Pepper at Thomas.pepper@bmi.gv.at.

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