Pubdate: Fri, 16 Aug 2002
Source: Independent  (UK)
Copyright: 2002 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.
Author: Elizabeth Nash


Spain is setting up a pioneering network of radar and sensitive night-sight
cameras along its southern coast in a hi-tech attempt to crack down on the
trafficking of drugs and immigrants from Morocco.

The scheme, said to be the first of its kind in Europe and costing E142m
(UKP90m), will enable Civil Guard paramilitary coastal patrols to spot
vessels up to 12 miles from the Spanish coast, the government said. The aim
is to detect the small wooden pateras and rubber dinghies that smuggle
thousands of would-be immigrants from Morocco to Spain each year. With the
Integrated External Vigilance System (SIVE), infra-red cameras and radar
capable of detecting the presence of a person or an outboard motor will
alert officials stationed along the coast.

"The government is committed to fighting the trafficking of human beings
with the rule of law and new, useful and resolute methods such as the SIVE,"
Angel Acebes, the Interior Minister, said while inaugurating the system on
Wednesday in Algeciras.

The most popular route is across the hazardous Strait of Gibraltar, which is
only nine miles wide at Tarifa. Many of those packed into fragile little
vessels are repatriated, while thousands manage to slip through. Thousands
are believed to die in the attempt.

The system is also intended to combat hashish traffickers who ship their
produce to Europe across the strait.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk