EU and Libya have signed a memorandum of understanding under which European navies will provide training for the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy.
The memorandum was signed by in Rome, Italy, by Commodore Abdalh Toumia, commander of Libyan Coastguard and Port Security and Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, EUNAVFOR MED operation commander, on August 23.
“The Memorandum Of Understanding signed today, is another key step towards the beginning of the cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy,” Credendino said.
Following a Council decision on May 18 , 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.
EUNAVFOR MED’s mandate was recently extended until July 2017 while two supporting tasks were added: 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.
The capacity building, outlined in the memorandum, 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,” Credendino stated.
EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia’s core mission is to disrupt the business model of human traffickers and smugglers along with saving lives at sea. Mission activities have so far resulted in prosecuting 84 suspected smugglers and traffickers while 255 boats have been seized from smugglers. Additionally, more than 21.958 lives were saved at sea.