EU training of Libyan coastguards kicks off in the sea

Libya has long been a stepping stone for migrants seeking a better life in Europe, with Italy some 300 kilometres (185 miles) away across the Mediterranean (File Photo: Reuters)
Libya has long been a stepping stone for migrants seeking a better life in Europe, with Italy some 300 kilometres (185 miles) away across the Mediterranean (File Photo: Reuters)

Attending a NATO defense ministers’ meeting Thursday, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini announced as a “very important step” the launch of the EU training program for 78 heavily-vetted members of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy.

The EU training of the Libyan coastguards will take place on board of an Italian ship in the sea and will last as long as four months, accordion to the EU Operation Sophia, because the training is part of the EU’s broader naval mission Operation Sophia, aimed at disrupting the migrant influx in the Mediterranean Sea.

This training program has kicked off just as the Libyan Navy spokesman, Brig Ayoub Qasim, said this morning the Libyan Coast Guard personnel has rescued 29 illegal migrants of different African nationalities onboard a dinghy, adding that 97 bodies were also recovered from the scene.

The initial training package comprises various models, ranging from basic seamanship to more advanced specialist skills and includes a substantial focus on human rights and international law. This task will be financed through voluntary contributions from some EU member states managed by the Athena mechanism, and from voluntary assets and personnel contribution provided by the Member States.

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