Albania: Anti-Smuggling Measure Extended
Tirana | 05 February 2010 |
Albania’s parliament has extended the country’s moratorium on the use of speedboats along its coast for another three years. The moratorium is part of an effort to thwart illegal smuggling.
The moratorium, first adopted in 2005, expired in October. The law affected around 2,000 local speedboat owners. It aimed to stop traffickers in both people and drugs who use speedboats to reach the shores of Italy and Greece.
The only small motorised vessels allowed to venture out into the sea from Albanian shores under the moratorium are police, customs and fishing boats, and foreign-owned tourist yachts.
Speedboats were commonly used in the 1990s to traffic migrants and drugs from Albania to Italy, but following closer cooperation between Albania and its neighbours, there has been a decline in their use.
Critics say that the law, adopted on Thursday, is unnecessary and is hurting Albania’s tourism industry. Reacting to the government’s decision, the opposition Socialist Party called the bill unconstitutional and a sign of the government’s failure to stop illegal trafficking.