Brussels has renewed on 26 September the mandate of Operation Sophia, the anti-migrant-smuggling mission along the Libyan Mediterranean coast by six months.

The operation had previously shrunk from a full-on naval deployment in 2015 to drone surveillance. The deployment of the Operation’s naval assets will remain temporarily suspended, as EU states continue to work on a solution on disembarkation.

Apart from its core mandate to help disrupt the business model of human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean, the operation also trains the Libyan Coastguard and Navy and contributes to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. It also conducts surveillance activities on illegal trafficking of oil exports from the country, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia was launched in 2015 and it is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration. The Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Credendino, from Italy, and the headquarters of the operation are located in Rome.