EU Establishes EUNAVFOR Med

The EU Council has agreed to establish EUNAVFOR Med, a military operation to break the business model of smugglers and traffickers of people in the Mediterranean by seizing and destroying vessels used for smuggling.

This decision was passed on May 18, enabling the formal start of the operational planning for the naval operation.

EUNAVFOR Med will be conducted in sequential phases and in accordance with the requirements of international law. Planning of the operation and the initial phase of surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean will be conducted as soon as possible. The second and third phases of the operation would work to search, seize and disrupt the assets of smugglers, based on international law and in partnership with Libyan authorities.

The operational headquarters of EUNAVFOR Med will be in Rome and Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino (Italy) has been appointed as Operation Commander. The common costs of the operation are estimated at EUR 11.82 million for a two months start up phase plus an initial mandate of 12 months.

The decision was welcomed by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), a global shipping association representing 2,300 members in around 130 countries.

”It is reassuring to see the efforts of EU leaders continuing to address this crisis – and now beyond the search and rescue mission of Operation Triton – to help deal with the people smugglers and the business model that is building the humanitarian crisis of distressed migrants in the Mediterranean Sea,” said Giles Noakes, Chief Officer for Maritime Security at BIMCO.

”The stated intention of EUNAVFOR Med to search, seize and disrupt the assets of people-smugglers – in partnership with Libyan authorities – is crucial to that aim and we welcome this announcement and future efforts on this.”