The European Union has began the training of Libyan coast guard as part of efforts to curb the growing influx of irregular migrants from North Africa, EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini announced.
“Today we are starting the training of the Libyan coast guard in Operation Sophia which is a very important step.I think cooperation also in that respect with NATO would be important and we welcome that very much,” she said.
The Libyans Coast Guard in the European training school was launched on October 27 with the goal of contributing to the tracking of migrants who leave Libya to assault the Italian coasts.
The initial training package comprises various models, ranging from basic seamanship to more advanced specialist skills and includes a substantial focus on human rights and international law.
This task will be financed through voluntary contributions from some EU member states managed by the Athena mechanism, and from voluntary assets and personnel contribution provided by the Member States.
Operation Sophia which was launched on June 22, 2015, entered its active phase in October 2015. The phase provides for the identification, capture and disposal of vessels used or suspected of being used by migrants’ smugglers or traffickers.
The operation is restricted to international waters in the Mediterranean, hence the engagement with the UN-backed administration in Libya represents an important step.
Sophia currently comprises five vessels and three helicopters charged with intercepting smugglers’ boats and destroying them.