23 Aug 2016

Operation SOPHIA: signed the agreement on Libyan Coast Guard and Navy Training

“The Memorandum Of Understanding signed today, is another key step towards the beginning of the cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy”.

With these words Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Enrico Credendino , EUNAVFOR MED Operation Commander, welcomed today 23 August 2016, the Memorandum of Understanding on the training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy with the Libyan representative.

The agreement was signed this morning by the Operation Commander and Commodore Abdalh Toumia, Commander of Libyan Coastguard and Port Security in the EUNAVFOR MED Headquarters in Rome.

Since the Council decision of 18 May 2015, operation SOPHIA is contributing to the EU efforts to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, undertaking systematic efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels and assets used, or suspected of being used, by smugglers and traffickers. The Council of the European Union, last 20 June 2016, extended EUNAVFOR MED’s mandate until 27 July 2017 and added two supporting tasks: the capacity building and training of the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and the contribution to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. With today’s signature, EUNAVFOR MED and the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy representative, agreed on the programme meant to conduct, in coordination with other EU agencies and other international actors, all needed training activities.

The capacity building will be divided in three main packages: training at sea, ashore (in EU Member States training facilities, or in Libya) and on board Libyan Coast Guard and Navy Patrol Boats.

“The three packages that have been developed together with the Libyan counterparts will improve the security of the Libyan territorial waters, including the capacity of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy to perform law enforcement actions in order to tackle the criminal organisations that take advantage of smuggling and trafficking in human beings. As a consequence, this will contribute to prevent further loss at sea,” stated Rear Admiral Credendino.

EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA ’s core mission is to disrupt the business model of human traffickers and smugglers, no less, saving life at sea is both a moral and international law obligation. Thus far, in fact, following EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia’s activities, 84-suspected smugglers and traffickers have been prosecuted by the Italian authorities and 255 boats have been prevented from being re-used by smugglers. Nonetheless, more than 21.958 lives were saved at sea.