Countries Work to Secure Panama Canal from Terrorist Attacks, Counterfeit Shipments

Eighteen countries, including the U.S., recently participated in military maneuvers in Panama City, Panama to prepare for any potential terrorist act that could disrupt maritime traffic.

Over the course of 12 days more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel took part in the exercises designed to protect the canal that handles 5 percent of all global trade, according to United Press International.

The maneuvers come shortly after the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) started a Center of Excellence on Maritime Security in Panama City and launched a Regional Program Office for Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic to prevent counterfeit drugs and other phony products from passing through the canal.

“Most of the world’s trade is shipped by containers, which means that containers are also the main delivery system for illicit goods,” UNODC Deputy Executive Director Francis Maertens told the news source. He went on to say “better container security can raise the risks and lower the benefits to organized crime.”

The UNODC-World Customs Organization Container Control Program works to help countries identify suspicious cargo.