Operation Sophia extended
BRUSSELS — The European Union has extended the mandate of its naval operation targeting migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean and tasked it with monitoring illegal oil trafficking from Libya. Operation Sophia, which has naval ships and aircraft monitoring the Mediterranean, aims to disrupt smuggling networks and train Libya’s coastguard as a way of stemming the flow of desperate migrants attempting the risky crossing from Libya to Italy in unseaworthy boats.
The European Council broadened the operation’s mandate this week to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence on illegal oil exports from Libya, monitor Libyan coastguard members it has trained and enhance information sharing between EU member states and enforcement agencies.
The operation’s mandate has been extended until the end of 2018.