Frontex news release: “Hermes 2011 Starts Tomorrow in Lampedusa, 19-02-2011
Joint Operation (JO) Hermes 2011 is due to start tomorrow with the deployment of additional aerial and maritime assets from Italy and Malta. In the following days the second line activities will be activated with the deployment of debriefing/screening experts. Their task will be to gather information necessary needed for analysis, to make assumptions concerning migrants’ nationalities, and to enable early detection and prevention of possible criminal activities at the EU external borders. Next important element of this operation will be to provide assistance at the following stage focusing on organising return operations to the countries of origin. Frontex risk analysis experts will be supporting Italian authorities producing targeted risk analysis identifying vulnerabilities and security risks that might occur at the EU southern external border.
Background – Frontex received a formal request for assistance on February 15th from the Italian Ministry of Interior regarding the extraordinary migratory situation in the Pelagic Islands. The Italian Government requested assistance in strengthening the surveillance of the EU’s external borders in the form of a Joint Operation. Additionally, Italy requested a targeted risk analysis on the possible future scenarios of the increased migratory pressure in the region in the light of recent political developments in North Africa and the possibility of the opening up of a further migratory front in the Central Mediterranean area.
According to the Italian Ministry of Interior, approximately 6,000 irregular migrants, mostly of the Tunisian origin, have arrived on the Italian coast in the last month, of whom 3,000 have arrived since February 11th. Before February 11th, only 14 Tunisian nationals had arrived on the Italian coast in 2011.”
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