Customs administrations in various parts of the world have seized more than 85 metric tons of solid chemicals and nearly 10,000 litres of liquid precursors within the framework of the Programme Global Shield since the beginning of 2013. According to the World Customs Organisation (WCO), these seizures have saved the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians and prevented damage to critical infrastructure at a time when the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) as a weapon of choice continues to escalate across the globe. “During this period more than 90 warning and feedback messages have been exchanged on suspicious shipments through a special online application that was created to enhance information exchange between the 85 Customs authorities and other agencies involved in the Programme”, the WCO stated on its website.
The global Customs body said the latest results include a significant seizure of 72 kg of sodium chlorate, a chemical precursor, by Thai Customs.
“The seizure was made within the framework of Operation Hawk, the final phase of the Counter-Terrorism Plan for Asia. Prior to the Operation, in conjunction with INTERPOL, the WCO conducted a training session on the illicit diversion of precursor chemicals from international supply chains for 26 officials from the Thai Customs Department, the Royal Thai Police, the Border Patrol Police and the Immigration Department. Participants also learnt how to use Programme Global Shield chemical identification field test kits that were later successfully deployed during the Operation”, the organisation stated.
WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya urged the Customs community to continue its active engagement, alongside partner agencies, in Programme Global Shield by working with the private sector involved in the production and distribution of precursor chemicals to reduce the opportunities for their diversion and use in the illicit manufacturing of IEDs.
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