New EU vessel takes up position off Libya in EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA
The EU vessel HMS Diamond conducted a final boarding exercise last weekend prior to officially taking up her position as part of operation SOPHIA, the European Naval Force Operation to counter human trafficking and the flow of illegal arms into Libya.
HMS Enterprise played the part of a “suspect” vessel during the exercise; giving HMS Diamond’s boarding team a unique training opportunity. Enterprise, which has been a part of this mission for the past few months, recently made the news when she rescued over 700 people in distress off the Libyan coast.
Diamond’s patrol area is located in the Eastern Mediterranean to the North of Libya where she will spend her time executing the EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA, monitoring suspicious shipping activity and conducting boarding operations on suspect vessels under the mandate of a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
On 20 June 2016, the Council of the European Union reinforced the EUNAVFOR MED core mandate with two supporting tasks: the capacity building and training of, and information sharing with, the Libyan Coastguard and Navy, based on a request by the legitimate Libyan authorities taking into account the need for Libyan ownership; and contributing to information sharing, as well as implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya on the basis of a new UN Security Council Resolution.
On 30 August, the EU Political and Security Committee decided to formally commence the two above-mentioned supporting tasks.
EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia has been active in international waters since June 2015. Its core mandate is to disrupt the business model of human traffickers and smugglers in the Central Mediterranean.
(Source: EU Neighbourhood Info)