Two vessels of the Libyan General Administration for Costal Security (GACS) returned to Libya from the port of Bizerte (Tunisia) where they had been undergoing substantial repairs. The rehabilitation of the vessels was part of the Integrated Border and Migration Management project in Libya, financed by Italy and the European Union under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF Africa) and implemented by the Italian Ministry of Interior. The vessels will reinforce the Libyan maritime border security capacities and will be used for search and rescue to save lives and tackle human trafficking and organised crime along the Libyan coast.
“The refitting of these two vessels has been a prime example of the constructive cooperation between the European Union, an EU member state – Italy, and Libya,” said EU Ambassador-designate to Libya, Jose Sabadell, who witnessed the handover of the vessels to the GACS in Bizerte. “We all have a joint interest: stability and security in Libya, and the EU remains committed to support the Libyan people in this effort.”
General Mohamed Alfituri Ahmed, Director of the Libyan GACS, expressed his gratitude for the support of the EU and the Italian Ministry of Interior. “Our joint objective is the fight against trafficking and organised crime,” General Alfituri Ahmed stressed.
The Integrated Border and Migration Management project is part of the EU’s comprehensive range of actions to assist Libya to better manage migration, in line with international standards and with the objective to save lives, protect those in need and fight trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling.
The border management programme in Libya under the EUTF Africa now amounts to €57.2 million. So far, vehicles as well as a series of technical trainings have been delivered to GACS staff on issues like naval navigation and diving to increase capacities to save lives at sea. The courses also included training on international human rights standards.
Libya remains the biggest beneficiary of the EUTF Africa, with a total value of €455 million in programmes and with substantial funding going to protection of migrants and refugees, and community stabilisation, alongside actions for border management.