Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse On Board Ship

6th Edition 2021
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.
In stock

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.


The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for the shipping industry, representing shipowners and operators in all sectors and trades. ICS membership comprises national shipowners' associations in Asia, Europe and the Americas whose member shipping companies operate over 80% of the world's merchant tonnage.

Established in 1921, ICS is concerned with all technical, legal, employment affairs and policy issues that may affect international shipping.

ICS represents shipowners with the various intergovernmental regulatory bodies that impact on shipping, including the International Maritime Organization.

ICS also develops best practices and guidance, including a wide range of publications and free resources that are used by ship operators globally.



Witherbys titles are developed using scripts developed by technical experts that are peer reviewed within work groups. Typically, they seek to improve understanding of the regulations, recommendations and guidelines issued by Industry.

Witherbys staff have significant expertise in the fields of navigation and hazardous cargoes as well as in the presentation of complex subjects in a graphic and easy to understand manner.

Number of Pages: 220 Book Height: 310 mm Book Width: 210 mm Weight: 1.4 kg Author: International Chamber of Shipping, Witherbys Publication Date: April 2021