European Union External Action

ITS Garibaldi crosses the finishing line of Operation Sophia

05/04/2017 - 00:00
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On April the 4th, onboard of the Italian ship Garibaldi moored in Taranto harbour, the Force Commander, Rear Admiral (LH) Giuseppe Berutti Bergotto, handed over the Command of Operation Sophia Task Force to Rear Admiral (LH) Andrea Romani.

In the meantime the Italian Light Aircraft Carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi, commanded by Captain Antonio Galiuto, has completed her employment as Flagship of EUNAVFOR MED - Operation Sophia. Thanks to the tenacity and determination, that characterize her crew, the Ship has had more than 4530 hours at sea, covering total of more than 37.700 nautical miles, as for twice the equator’s circumference.

The Ship operated with a key role in the coordination of all operations related to disrupt the model of human trafficking criminal networks and to prevent sea tragedies in the Central Mediterranean Sea. Some special events has occurred for the first time in the history of an aircraft carrier such as a conduction of a “Friendly Approaches” - consensual visits on ships in the Area of Operation.

The Italian Navy, to continue fulfilling the mission assigned - held by Italy from 22nd June 2015 – passes the baton to another of their ship, the LPD  San Giusto, which will continue to carry the honor of the Italian flag in the European context.

Thus far, following EUNAVFOR MED activities, 109-suspected smugglers and traffickers have been prosecuted by the Italian authorities and 414 boats were prevented from being re-used by smugglers. Last 20 June 2016, the Council extended until 27 July 2017 operation SOPHIA’s mandate reinforcing it by adding two supporting tasks: the training of the Libyan Navy Coast Guard and Libyan Navy, and the contribution to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya, in accordance with the UNSCR 2292 (2016).

Recently 93 Libyan trainees were trained on board of our units at sea and additionally 41 received a training module ashore. Since the beginning of the contribution to the UN arms embargo off the coast of Libya in September 2016, operation SOPHIA assets carried more than 460 events related to the UN arms embargo off the coast of Libya.

Last but not least, 34.579 lives have been saved at sea.