Here is the latest update from the Frontex web site:
“… Joint Operation Hermes 2011, originally planned to commence in June, was brought forward and started on February 20 with a provisional end-date of March 31 as an initial phase with a possible extension if needed. The Operational Plan was prepared on the basis of a Tailored Risk Analysis, created by Frontex at Italy’s request…. As with all Frontex-coordinated Joint Operations, the host Member State (Italy) will play the leading role. All maritime assets and crews will be provided by the Italian authorities and will patrol a predefined area with a view to detecting and preventing illegitimate border crossings to the Pelagic Islands, Sicily and the Italian mainland. Aerial assets made available by other Member States for enhanced border surveillance and search and rescue capability will support these sea patrols. Meanwhile, second-line border control will be supported through the deployment of debriefing and screening experts to identify migrants’ nationalities and to gather intelligence on people-smuggling networks. Further support may also be made available in the area of return operations.
Assets and experts made available by the Member States for Hermes 2011 joint operation:
- Naval means: Italy
- Aerial means: Italy, France, the Netherlands, Malta, Spain
- Experts: Italy, Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Malta, Portugal, and Spain …
The Europol Mobile Office is deployed on the spot in Lampedusa. Europol experts will also provide operational analytical support throughout the operation.”
Click here for full statement.