From seizing narcotics to stopping illegal migrants, what goes on inside Albania’s largest port

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The purchase of vehicles from abroad is becoming a trend that has seen rising figures in the past couple of years, but quite sometimes, authorities have discovered illegal drugs concealed inside personal cars that try to enter Albania from the port of Durres.

Apart from physical security checks, everything is being monitored by the Border Police, Captaincy, and Port Security in a room that serves to surveil every single movement that takes place at the port’s premises.

“They use the parts of the vehicle chassis, heavy vehicles even in small cars, the part of the saboteurs, the front of the truck, in the upholstery, in the tires”, – said Gentian Aga, specialist for Border Services when asked about the most common places where traffickers try to hide drugs.

Pirro Vengu, the Executive Director of the port, says that the goal is to create automatic detecting systems equipped with alarms that would oblige security personnel to take measures.

Intelligence surveillance cameras can store footage for up to one year and cover the entire area, both inside and outside the port.

“It would give the opportunity to raise an automatic alarm for every vehicle or individual that approaches the perimeter, or every effort to cross the fence, be that in case of illegal migrants, which have been a long time problem”, says Vengu for Euronews Albania.

Migrants have become very sophisticated on how to find ways to cross the sea, with 12-13 people getting caught by the customs every month.

An estimated 3,000 people enter the port of Durres on a daily basis, in addition to 10,000 travelers during the tourist season.

The port of Durres covers an area of 80 hectares of land and 60 hectares of navigation space. Authorities have heightened security in an effort to tackle the narcotics and undeclared money from entering the port.

In 2021 alone, around 1 ton of cocaine concealed in containers and trucks has been seized, which if it were to be sold in the market it would reach around €40 million.

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