Rome, October 7 2015 EUNAVFOR MED
Today, as agreed by the EU Ambassadors within the Political and Security Committee on September 28, the EU naval operation against human smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean, "EUNAVFOR MED - OPERATION SOPHIA ”, moved to phase 2 in International Waters.
After having achieved all the objectives of the first phase in terms of intelligence gathering, training and deployment, the Operation Commander, Admiral Enrico Credendino , stated the Force’s readiness for next stage.
During the second phase, the EUNAVFOR MED - OPERATION SOPHIA assets will conduct boarding, search, seizure and diversion, on the high seas, of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking.
In order to accomplish this highly operative part of the mission, the member States agreed to enhance the Force by deploying more assets at sea.
At the moment EUNAVFOR MED - OPERATION SOPHIA can count on 6 naval units (the Italian flagship “Cavour”, 2 German, 1 UK, 1 French and 1 Spanish warships) and 7 air assets among planes and Helicopters. 3 more vessels will join the naval Force in the Area of Operation in few weeks.
In its first phase, launched on 22 June 2015, EUNAVFOR MED - OPERATION SOPHIA patrolled on the high seas gathering information detecting and monitoring the smuggling networks. Nevertheless, the ships contributed to save more than 3000 migrant’s lives performing several rescues at sea and, Following our activities, 16 suspected smugglers and traffickers have been arrested by the Italian authorities.
EUNAVFOR MED, established on 18 May 2015, is part of a wider EU’s comprehensive approach to migration, tackling both current symptoms and root causes such as conflict, poverty, climate change and persecution.