Operation Sophia welcomes new flagship

ITS San Marco; Photo: Italian Navy

Italian Navy amphibious ship ITS San Marco has become a flagship of the EUNAVFOR Med operation Sophia Task Force.

San Marco has replaced landing platform dock (LPD) San Giusto which completed six months of deployment in the operation, from February 1 to August 1, 2018.

This was the vessel’s second involvement in SOPHIA Task Force. Since her arrival in the area, she has provided a significant support to Sophia, hosting the multinational Force Headquarters and contributing to the core mission of fighting human trafficking and smuggling networks.

In July, the Crime Information Cell, a new platform was established and activated. As explained by EUNAVFOR, the platform opened a new chapter in operational cooperation between Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) actors that will strengthen their collective effectiveness and operational impact.

ITS San Marco has replaced ITS San Giusto and is acting from today as the new flagship of Sophia Task Force, fully involved on the renewed focus on information exchange with law enforcement agencies, as well as the additional task of gathering information in support of UN Resolutions against illegal oil smuggling from Libya’s coast.

Launched in 2015, Operation Sophia is focused on disrupting the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers and contributing to EU efforts for the return of stability and security in Libya and the Central Mediterranean region.

In 2017, the mandate of EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia was extended until December 31, 2018.

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