Yesterday (30 January), EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia for the Libyan Navy Coast Guard and Libyan Navy started the second part of the maritime training in Crete (Greece). 20 Libyan Navy Coast Guard and Libyan Navy trainees will be trained in maritime legal aspects, human rights, gender issues as well as search and rescue operations. The second package draws on the first training on basic seamanship and it will be delivered throughout 2017 in multiple locations in the Mediterranean area.
The training was first agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding from August 2016, by EUNAVFOR MED operation Commander, Rear Admiral (UH) Enrico Credendino, and the Commander of the Libyan Navy Coast Guard and Port Security, Commodore Abdalh Toumia. The actual training started in October last year with 78 Libyan Navy Coast Guard and Libyan Navy trainees who embarked on board of the EU training vessels.
The main objective of the training is to equip the Libyan guards with techniques and skills to disrupt smuggling and trafficking in Libya and to perform search and rescue activities, aimed at saving lives and improving security in the country’s territorial waters. The EU Naval Operation is part of the EU’s military contribution to the comprehensive strategy that aims at disrupting the operations of human smugglers and traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean.
Following the activities of Operation Sophia, 101 suspected smugglers and traffickers have been apprehended and transferred to the Italian authorities and 380 vessels were removed from the smugglers’ availability. The Operation has so far saved more than 32,000 migrants, among whom were almost 1900 children.