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- Panel of Experts Recommends Intercepting and Searching of Vessels Carrying Arms to Libya
In the first part of the second phase of its mandate, which started on 7 October 2015, Eunavfor MED operation Sophia is authorised to conduct boarding, search, seizure and diversion on the high seas of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking. So far, 48 suspected smugglers/traffickers have been apprehended and are in the Italian judicial system; they have either been sentenced, awaiting trial or are under investigation.
The Libyan coastguard, which is a part of the Libyan Navy, is facing many challenges including that of lack of proper equipment, specialized training and central management. As soon as the newly established Government of National Accord (GNA) is endorsed by the House of Representatives, due priority should be given to the Libyan coastguard which would be at the forefront of saving human lives at sea and managing irregular migration flows. Some technical level meetings have been held between EUBAM Libya (civilian Common Security and Defence Policy mission focusing on border management) and representatives of the Libyan coastguard and initial contacts have also been established between Eunavfor MED operation Sophia and the Libyan coastguard to better understand their needs and concerns. The EU remains committed to supporting the ongoing political process in Libya and remains ready to work jointly with Libyan counterparts in many areas, including the Libyan coastguard.