Eight migrants dead off Libya as Italy outlines naval mission

The bodies of eight migrants have been found at sea off the coast of Libya by rescuers coming to the aid of four rubber dinghies, the Italian coastguard said Tuesday. Some 500 survivors were pulled to safety, the coastguard told AFP, illustrating the huge challenge that continues to bedevil authorities as people try to reach […]

Serraj denies inviting Italian warships into Libyan waters

Presidency Council (PC) head Faiez Serraj has denied that he has invited Italian warships to enter Libyan territorial waters in pursuit of people-traffickers. Serraj saw Italian premier Paolo Gentiloni on his way back from his Paris talks with armed forces commander-in-chef Khalifa Hafter hosted by French president Emmanuel Macron. After their meeting Gentiloni was reported as saying that […]

EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia: mandate extended until 31 December 2018

On 25 July 2017, the Council extended the mandate of the EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia until 31 December 2018. EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia is the EU naval operation disrupting the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean. The operation has two supporting tasks: training the Libyan Coastguard and Navy […]

Italy drafts contested code of conduct for NGO migrant boats

Crispian Balmer ROME (Reuters) – The Italian government, looking to stem a flow of migrants into the country, has drawn up a draft code of conduct for non-governmental organizations operating in the Mediterranean Sea, an official said on Wednesday. The 11-point plan is expected to be presented in the coming days to some nine NGOs […]

EU naval mission has failed to end people smuggling – peers

An EU naval mission has failed to achieve its main objective of disrupting people smuggling, a Lords committee report has concluded. Operation Sophia, which the UK supports, appears to have done little to deter migration and its mandate should not be renewed, peers said. However, they said search and rescue work in the Mediterranean had […]

Europe migrant crisis: EU blamed for 'soaring' death toll

Amnesty International has blamed “failing EU policies” for the soaring death toll among refugees and migrants in the central Mediterranean. In a report, it said “cynical deals” with Libya consigned thousands to the risk of drowning, rape and torture. It said the EU was turning a blind eye to abuses in Libyan detention centres, and […]

Italian plan to curb Mediterranean rescue boat charities 'threatens lives'

New rules drawn up by Italy likely to bring NGOs under coast guard control, which they fear will hamper rescue attempts Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor Charities that rescue migrants and refugees from the Mediterranean have reacted angrily to plans to make them subject to a new code of conduct drawn up by Italyand endorsed by other EU […]

EU to discuss more migrant help for Italy in next week – Juncker

TALLINN (Reuters) – The EU executive will discuss further measures with Italy and Greece in the coming week to help the Mediterranean states deal with irregular migrants, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday. Asked at a news conference what, in particular, the Commission might do to help Italy, where arrivals from Libya are […]

Migrant crisis: Italy threatens to shut ports

Italy has threatened to stop vessels of other countries from bringing migrants to its ports. The warning came as Italy’s EU representative, Maurizio Massari, warned in a letter to the bloc the situation had become “unsustainable”. Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has accused other European nations of “looking the other way”. An estimated 10,000 people are […]

Over 8,000 migrants rescued in waters off Libya

More than 8,000 migrants have been rescued in waters off Libya during the past 48 hours in difficult weather conditions, Italy’s coastguard said Tuesday. “On Monday, we rescued about 5,000 people from four large boats, one smaller one and 18 rubber dinghies,” a spokesman told AFP. People were pulled to safety by coastguard vessels, military ships operating […]