The European Union has committed itself to help clamp down migrant smuggling in Libya.
The country, known as a hub for illegal migration mainly for citizens from Sub Saharan Africa, solicited help from the EU, which has in turn agreed to collaborate to stop the phenomenon through its “Operation Sophia” mission in the Mediterranean.
With calm summer weather approaching in the Mediterranean, Europe’s governments are keen to deter smugglers from finding new routes into Europe.
“The Libyan coastguards are the basis on which we need to strengthen security in the coastal waters of Libya. We can provide training and equipment including additional technical support,” said Philip Hammond, British Foreign Secretary.
Operation Sophia, aimed at boarding and seizing on the high seas, vessels suspected of being used for human trafficking was due to conclude in July but the EU has decided to extend its mandate by a year.
This mission was initiated in April 2015, following the sinking of a boat with 850 migrants on board off the Libyan coast.
The EU says 13,000 people attempting to cross into Europe have been saved through the mission.