Royal Navy Commodore, Steve Dainton, opened the conference, noting that the estimated wholesale value of smuggled Somalia charcoal is £117 million (= US$ 150.6609 million) a year.
It is estimated terrorist organisations such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia, where there has been a United Nations Security Council ban on exporting charcoal since 2012, tax and smuggle 3.5m bags a year which is often marketed as legitimate to buyers in Gulf nations.
A further impact of the scale of charcoal smuggling is the estimate that there will be no trees left in Somalia by the year 2060. One-and-a-half million acacia trees are felled annually.
It is important we stop the illegal trade in charcoal. Not only will that cut off a source of funding to Somali terrorists, but it will also slow down the deforestation of part of Somalia.
...stressed Commodore Steve Dainton RN.
The conference discussed ways the CMF can disrupt the illicit trade and seize suspicious dhows, a type of vessel common to the Middle East.
This conference is a starting point for further discussion and relationship building in our effort to counter this source of terrorist financing; it is our shared interest to achieve the CTF 152 mission: a safe and prosperous Gulf.
...said Captain Saleh Alfodary KCG, Commander of Combined Task Force 152, which hosted the conference.
A second conference called Shared Awareness and De-confliction (Shade) was also held looking at anti-piracy and the illegal smuggling of narcotics and weapons.
The meeting comes as Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon was involved in four drugs busts last month, including two in 48 hours, along an area of the Gulf known as 'Hash Highway'. The Portsmouth-based ship seized a total of 13.3 tonnes of drugs during the first three months of its deployment.