The EU Council took a decision to establish EUNAVFOR Med, a military operation which aims to prevent human trafficking and also to stop the smugglers trade in the Mediterranean sea. The vessels used for smuggling will be seized and destroyed by the military forces, which is believed to help for the breaking of smugglers business model.

The agreement was established on May 18, giving a formal start of the operational planning for the naval operations in the Mediterranean.

EU Council agreed on EUNAVFOR Med

Image by Massimo Sestini/Italian Navy/UNHCR

EUNAVFOR Med will be managed in several stages, according to the international law requirements.

In the initial phase, military forces will conduct surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.

After operation planning and surveillance in the region, stages two and three of the military operation will be entered, when the military forces will work on searching, seizing and disrupting the smugglers assets. All military operations will be based on the international law and in a collaboration with the authorities of Libya.

Italian Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino has been appointed as Operational Commander of the EUNAVFOR Med operational headquarters, which are based in Rome.

The estimated common costs for the first two months, plus the first year mandate, is about EUR 11.82 million.

The EU Council decision was welcomed by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), which is a global shipping association representing 2,300 members from nearly 130 countries.

Giles Noakes, the BIMCO Chief Officer for Maritime Security said:

”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. 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.”