A French Naval commander has said drug smugglers in the region are becoming increasingly resourceful in avoiding detection at sea.
Speaking with reporters during a tour and media briefing of the FNS (French Naval Ship) Ventôse on Tuesday afternoon, Commander Matthieu Ruf said the vessel has successfully intercepted drug shipments using small boats in the past. He said the French government is committed to assisting Caribbean partners in anti-drug-trafficking exercises,
The Ventôse is based in Martinique and assists Caribbean islands in counter-trafficking operations and humanitarian exercises during natural disasters.
In 2006 the Ventôse seized 4.6 tonnes of cocaine in the Caribbean.
Ruf said while the French Navy was dedicated to disrupting regional drug trafficking networks, smugglers were trying to find ways to avoid detection.
"It's getting more and more difficult, because their behaviour is changing every day.
When they know they know they may be caught on one route, they may try something else.
"They try it with faster (vessels), they may try it with submarines, they try it by night or by day if we are not there. Sometimes they know we are at sea, so they slow down, and when they get information that we are back at the home port, then they can accelerate their operations.
"So we have a lot of proof that they are organising themselves more and more efficiently every year, and it's getting more and more difficult to catch them."
Asked if smugglers were using submarines in the Caribbean, Ruf said while it was observed among traffickers in the Pacific Ocean, international authorities were wary of it spreading locally.
"If its possible on the Pacific coast today, it might be an issue in the Caribbean tomorrow.
"So we have to consider this option and be able to fight it."
French Ambassador to TT Didier Chabert also visited the Ventôse and said its visit to Trinidad was intended to signal the strengthening of diplomatic ties between the two countries, specifically in collaborative national security initiatives.
He said the French and TT authorities have had a good working relationship through policies and programmes, and hoped it would encourage further co-operation.
"Trinidad and Tobago has an area of responsibility, and most of the area of responsibility of TT is the area of responsibility of France with the forces based in Martinique. So because we are close together, there is need for very good co-operation between the Trinidadian coast guard and the French fleet in Martinique.
"So it's one of the reasons why we need on both sides to improve the co-operation between our naval forces and your forces, because we simply need to work together in terms of interventions, in terms of intelligence-gathering. There is a strong need for both countries to have the best relations possible, because most of the countries are a part of the same region."
The Ventôse is the first French military vessel to visit TT in the last five years.