EUNAVFOR MED Sophia to open crime information cell
The Council today adopted a decision allowing for the creation of a crime information cell within EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. The information cell will be composed of up to 10 staff members from relevant law enforcement authorities of member states and from the EU agencies FRONTEX and EUROPOL in order to improve information sharing between them.
The cell will be tasked to facilitate the receipt, collection and transmission of information on human smuggling and trafficking, the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya, illegal trafficking, as well as crimes relevant to the security of the operation itself.
EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia is the EU naval operation set up to disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. Since the beginning of the active phase of the operation (October 2015), the operation has contributed to the arrest and transfer to the Italian authorities of 143 suspected smugglers and traffickers, and has neutralised 545 vessels. In addition, the operation has helped rescue 44251 lives.
The operation has also a number of supporting tasks:
- training the Libyan Coastguard and Navy, and monitor the trainees to ensure the long-term efficiency of this training,
- contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya in accordance with UNSCR 2292 (2016) and 2357 (2017) and
- conducting surveillance activities and gather information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya in accordance with UNSCR 2146 (2014) and 2362 (2017).
The operation was launched on 22 June 2015 and its current mandate runs until 31 December 2018. EUNAVFOR MED’s Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, from Italy. The headquarters of the mission are located in Rome.