To stop human traffickers from bringing migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe, the European Union (EU) on 22 June 2015 launched a three-phase naval operation named EU NAVFOR Med (European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Sea).
The first phase of the naval operation was officially launched by EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg.
Phase – 1 involves Information gathering on whereabouts of traffickers, patrolling of high seas and monitoring of smuggle networks. It will see participation of about 10 countries which include among others Italy, France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Lithuania and probably also Finland.
The two follow-up phases of the operation which requires United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Libya’s approval would see
• Phase – 2: Active intervention to board and disable smuggler vessels and arrest the traffickers
• Phase – 3: Extend the actions into Libyan territorial waters and possibly inside the country itself
The operation will not target the migrants but it will target those who are making money on their lives and too often on their deaths. It also wants to dismantle the business model of the traffickers by destroying their boats.
The operation was launched in backdrop of death of 800 migrants in April 2015 when their rickety boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2015, about one lakh migrants have entered Europe most of them landing in Italy, Greece and Malta.
So far in 2015 alone, 2000 migrants have died.
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When: 22 June 2015