EU launches new phase of operation to capture migrant smugglers' boats
Oct.7, London: The EU has launched new phase of operation to capture boats smuggling migrants across the southern Mediterranean.
Under Operation Sophia, naval vessels will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human trafficking, local media reported. Until now the EU has focused on surveillance and rescue operations.
More than 130,000 migrants and refugees have crossed to Europe from the north African coast. More than 2,700 have drowned so far.
The huge numbers of migrants reaching Europe have led to a crisis within the EU, with member states at odds on how to deal with the influx.
The EU launched the first phase of its operation, called EUNavfor Med, in June, using naval surveillance to detect smugglers' boats and monitor trafficking patterns from Libya towards Italy and Malta.
The Oslo Times