MAOC (N) is an initiative by 6 EU Member States (France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal) and the United Kingdom, co-funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Union. The Centre provides a forum for multi-lateral cooperation, to tackle illicit drug trafficking by sea and air.
The Centre was inaugurated on the 30th of September 2007 in Lisbon, following the signing of an International Agreement by Ministers from each of the Partner Countries. MAOC (N) is staffed by Country Liaison Officers representing the police, customs, military and maritime authorities of the participating European nations, as well as permanent liaison officers from the United States (the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Joint Interagency Task Force – South).
MAOC (N)’s ethos, working practices and operations look to minimise bureaucracy while maximising operational activity. In addition to the intelligence and naval and air assets provided by its Partner Countries, MAOC (N)’s success is also attributed to other factors, namely the working model where liaison officers from both civilian and military authorities work side-by-side with full transparency and parity, collaborating towards a common goal. This approach is further enhanced through the contribution of a highly specialised team of analysts employed at the Centre.
Cape Verde, the European Commission, EUROPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Defence Agency (EDA), EUROJUST and FRONTEX are all observers of MAOC (N). The Centre has partnerships and cooperation agreements with important partners such as INTERPOL and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and has also signed memoranda of understanding with other relevant authorities from Brazil, Colombia and Senegal.
In support of its Partners, MAOC (N) takes an active role in identifying, disrupting and dismantling the command and control structures of the higher echelons of transnational organised crime. These structures are responsible for serious crimes across multiple continents and, with that in mind, the international cooperation spearheaded by MAOC (N) is crucial.