Initial 12 Vessels to Help Stem Migration
On 6 August the Italian parliament approved the donation of 12 patrol boats to the Libyan Coast Guard and Ministry of the Interior to help the North African nation deal with the migrant crisis. MT understands this initial package may be followed by up to 17 more vessels.
The intention is for Libya to be able to secure its own coastline without external aid from EU naval forces. The donation includes ten refurbished 500-class patrol boats, formerly in the service of the Guardia Costiera (Italian Coast Guard) and two CORRUBIA-class patrol boats decommissioned from the Italian Customs Police (Guardia di Finanza).
The Italian government maintain the 12 boats until the end of this year and is offering training to the Libyan coastguard and naval authorities. According to Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, then initial package, including the training, is valued at €2.5 million. The boats will help support the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Tripoli, which is also operated by Italy, which coordinates the identification, location and interception of vessels engaged in human smuggling operations.