The mission core mandate is to undertake systematic efforts to identifycapture and dispose of vessels and enabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers, in order to contribute to wider EU efforts to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean and prevent the further loss of life at sea.
Since 7 October 2015, as agreed by the EU Ambassadors within the Security Committee on 28 September, the operation moved to phase 2 International Waters, which entails boarding, search, seizure and diversion, on the high seas, of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking.
Last 20 June 2016, the Council extended until 27 July 2017 Operation Sophia’s mandate reinforcing it by adding two supporting tasks:
  • training of the Libyan coastguards and navy;
  • contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya.
On 30 August and on 6 September 2016, the PSC authorized the commencement of the capacity building and training and the commencement of the contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo.
Sophia is a baby who was born on 24 August 2015 at 04.15 am on board the German frigate Schleswig-Holstein, operating in the Central Mediterranean Sea as part of EUNAVFOR MED Task Force.
Born from a Somali mother rescued together with other 453 migrants and disembarked on the evening of the same day in the harbour of Taranto, Sophia was named after the German ship dedicated to the Prussian princess Sophia of Schleswig-Holstein (8 April 1866 - 28 April 1952).
“[...] I will suggest to Member States that we change the name of our Operation: instead of calling it EUNAVFOR MED, I suggest we use the name: Sophia. To honour the lives of the people we are saving, the lives of people we want to protect, and to pass the message to the world that fighting the smugglers and the criminal networks is a way of protecting human life”

EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia is designed around 4 phases:

  • the first consists of the deployment of forces to build a comprehensive understanding of smuggling activity and methods, and this phase is now complete;
  • phase two foresees the boarding, search, seizure and diversion of smugglers' vessels on the high seas under the conditions provided for by applicable international law. This activity will be extended into Territorial Waters upon the release of any applicable United Nation Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) and the concerned coastal State consent;
  • the third phase expands this activity further; up to and including taking operational measures against vessels and related assets suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking inside the coastal states territory. Once again, this is subject to the necessary legal framework established by UNSCR and following coastal state consent;
  • finally, the fourth and last phase will consist of withdrawal of forces and completion of the operation.
The European Council is responsible for assessing whether the conditions for transition between the operation phases have been met. On legal side, all of the activities undertaken in each phase adhere to and respect international law, including human rights, humanitarian and refugee law and the “non refoulement” principle meaning that no rescued persons can be disembarked in a third country.


European Council (20 June 2016):

  • training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy;
  • to contribute to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya according to UNSCR 2292 (2016) and UNSCR 2357 (2017).

European Council (25 July 2017):

  • to set up a monitoring mechanism of the long-term efficiency of the training of the Libyan Coastguard and Navy;
  • to conduct new surveillance activities and gather information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya in accordance UNSCR 2146 (2014) and 2362 (2017);
  • to enhance the possibility for sharing information on human trafficking with member states law enforcement agencies, FRONTEX and EUROPOL.


Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Enrico CREDENDINO

Rear Admiral (UH) Enrico CREDENDINO was born on the 21st January 1963 in Turin.

He joined the Italian Naval Academy in 1980 and was commissioned with the rank of Ensign in 1984.

He reported to the cruiser VITTORIO VENETO, the cruiser ANDREA DORIA and the guided missile destroyer ARDITO, in charge as gunnery, missile systems officer, and Operation Officer.

He commanded the patrol vessel SPICA, the frigate MAESTRALE, the 1st Patrollers Squadron – acting also as Command Training School’s Evaluation Officer – and the guided missile destroyer FRANCESCO MIMBELLI.

RA (UH) Enrico CREDENDINO’s ashore commitments included duties as: Commander of Cadets at the Italian Naval Academy; Staff Officer of the Plans and Policy Department of the Italian Navy General Staff – Naval Policy Office; Director of the Cadet Courses of the Italian Naval Academy; Chief of the Alliance Policy Office at the Plans and Policy Department of the Defense General Staff; Deputy Chief of the Plans and Policy Department of the Italian Navy General Staff.

Upon promotion to Rear Admiral (LH) on the 1st of July 2011 he was appointed Deputy Commander of Italian Front Line Naval Forces and Deputy Commander of NATO Italian Maritime Forces, Commander of Spanish/Italian Amphibious Force and Commander of Italian Naval Task Group.

Between August and December 2012 he was appointed Force Commander at European Naval Forces for the counterpiracy mission EUNAVFOR ATALANTA.

From September 2013 he is Head of Plans and Policy Department in the Italian Navy General Staff. He was promoted to Rear Admiral (UH) on 1 st July 2014.

On May 18th, 2015 he has been appointed as Operation Commander for EUNAVFOR MED mission.

During the 1998-1999 academic year he attended the 2nd Advanced Command and Staff Course in the United Kingdom and during the 2007-2008 academic year he attended the 59th course at the “High Studies for Defense Centre” in Rome.

RA (UH) Enrico CREDENDINO obtained a summa cum laude degree certificate in Maritime and Naval Sciences at the University of Pisa, a degree certificate in Political Science at the University of Trieste and a 2 nd level certificate in Security Advanced Studies at the University of Perugia.

He speaks fluent English and he has a good knowledge of the French language.



Rear admiral Gilles Boidevezi

Rear admiral Gilles Boidevezi was born 12 April 1965 in Marseilles, France.

After completion of naval academy sea training in 1989, he served as air defense and electronic warfare officer onboard several destroyers and was Commanding officer of divers support ship "Isard" (1993-1995). As Lieutenant commander, he was operations officer onboard ASW destroyer "La Motte-Picquet" (1997-1999).

He participated in operations in Lebanon (1989- 1990), Adriatic sea (1992-1995 & 1999) and Indian ocean (1998).

After graduating from Joint war college (Paris) in 2002, Commander Gilles Boidevezi was Director of naval academy sea training onboard Helicopters carrier "Jeanne d'Arc" (2002-2004), Commanding officer of frigate "Nivôse" based in La Reunion (Indian ocean) (2004-2005) and Sea combat desk officer, Defense Staff, Plans and Policy (2005-2008).

Promoted Captain in 2007, he was commanding officer of Air defense destroyer “Jean Bart” (2008-2010), then attended the French national defense institute course (2010-2011).

From 2011 to 2014, Captain Gilles Boidevezi was Deputy Director International and Strategic Affairs, Prime Minister office then was appointed as Deputy commander, French Mediterranean Joint Command (CECMED) (2014-2016).

Before being promoted Rear admiral on 19 June 2017, Captain Gilles Boidevezi was Assistant deputy Chief of the Navy for Operations.

On July 1st, 2017 he has been appointed as Deputy Operation Commander for EUNAVFORMED operation Sophia mission.

He is officer of the Legion of Honour and of the National Order of Merit.

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