ECSA has welcomed the Council’s decision to extend the mandate of the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 31st March 2019. Operation Sophia is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration and aims to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean and prevent the further loss of life at sea.
Operation Sophia has also been tasked with strengthening the Libyan Coastguard and Navy by training its personnel and monitoring the long-term efficiency of the training.
“Operation Sophia’s contribution to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean is very positive. The shipping industry highly supports the EU’s efforts in this region,” said ECSA’s Secretary General Martin Dorsman.
There has been an important reduction in the number of migrant crossings which can be attributed to the EUNAVFOR Operation Sophia, whilst it has conducted an increased proportion of rescue operations.
The European ship owners call upon the European Member States to conclude as soon as possible on the future of the Operation, making a new decision on a further extension possible.