Tag Archives: Joint Operation Hermes

Statewatch Analysis: The Arab Spring and the death toll in the Mediterranean: the true face of Fortress Europe

Statewatch released an Analysis by Marie Martin entitled “The Arab Spring and the death toll in the Mediterranean: the true face of Fortress Europe.”

Excerpt: “Throughout the uprisings in North Africa, the EU has maintained a discourse of double standards: supporting calls for freedom and democracy but greeting resulting population displacement with hostility. This has contributed to a record number of people dying at Europe’s borders during the first seven months of 2011. It is all about numbers when it comes to migration; about how large a flow came in, how many people asked for protection and how many applicants were “failed” or “rejected.” Numbers quantify the “threat” (e.g. the “invasion” of irregular migrants) and serve as a bargaining tool with third countries (allowing the acceptance of the externalisation of border controls in exchange for facilitating the mobility of a specific number of nationals). Numbers demonstrate whether the target of “x” thousands of annual deportations of irregular migrants is met. Numbers released by public authorities are meant to justify the need for migration policies and to show how efficiently they are implemented. Yet hidden numbers question the legitimacy of these policies – the death toll of people dying at Europe’s borders is such an example. For several years, Gabriele del Grande has monitored the situation at the EU’s external borders and kept a record of the number of deaths occurring in the context of irregular bordercrossings [2] on the Fortress Europe website. According to the website’s latest update, the EU’s borders have never been so “murderous” [3]: there were 1,931 deaths during the first seven months of 2011. [4] In 2008, a petition was brought before the European Parliament by the ProAsyl organisation, denouncing the  deathtrap at the EU’s borders” [5]: it was a particularly “murderous” year, with 1,500 deaths. It is terrifying to realise that this toll was exceeded in the first seven months of 2011. …”

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Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s self-interested response to unrest in north Africa: the meaning of treaties and readmission agreements between Italy and north African states

Statewatch released an Analysis by Yasha Maccanico entitled “The EU’s self-interested response to unrest in north Africa: the meaning of treaties and readmission agreements between Italy and north African states.”  The Analysis provides a description of Italy’s responses to the migrant arrivals in 2011 caused by the unrest in North Africa.

Excerpts:  “The ‘crisis’ reveals questionable practices and routine abuses – The measures adopted in response to the increasing number of migrants arriving from north African countries serve to highlight a number of practices that have become commonplace in Italy in recent years.

The first of these is a widening of the concept of ‘emergency.’ Calling an emergency gives the government a wider remit to derogate from specified laws so as to resolve situations that cannot be dealt with through ordinary measures….

Although the situation in north Africa was worrying, the emergency was called when slightly over 5,000 migrants had arrived. An analysis by Massimiliano Vrenna and Francesca Biondi Dal Monte for ASGI notes that the government has repeatedly called and extended states of emergency since 2002 to deal with immigration, which is treated as though it were a “natural calamity” even when there is a wholly predictable influx of people from third countries. The urgent need specified in decrees declaring a state of emergency is to conduct ‘activities to counter the exceptional – later referred to as massive – influx of immigrants on Italian territory’ (as happened on 11 December 2002, 7 November 2003, 23 December 2004, 28 October 2005, 16 March 2007, 31 December 2007, 14 February 2008 for Sicily, Calabria and Apulia and was extended to the whole nation on 25 July 2008 and 19 November 2009), stemming from a prime ministerial decree of 20 March 2002. Thus, Vrenna and Biondi Dal Monte’s observation that the emergency is ‘structural’ appears well-founded. It has serious repercussions for the treatment of migrants (see below) and the awarding of contracts outside of normal procedures, with the involvement of the civil protection department whose competencies have been expanding considerably.

The second practice involves the expulsion, refoulement or deportation of migrants outside the limits and procedures established by legislation for this purpose. The failure to identify people, to issue formal decisions on an individual basis to refuse them entry or expel them, or to give them the opportunity to apply for asylum or other forms of protection, was a key concern when boats were intercepted at sea and either the vessels or their passengers were taken back to Libya between May and September 2009, when 1,329 people were returned. These rights were also denied to people arriving from Egypt and Tunisia in application of readmission agreements in the framework of the fight against illegal migration. Their presumed nationality was deemed sufficient to enact expulsions to these countries, because ongoing cooperation and good relations with Italy appeared sufficient to indicate that they were not in need of protection, regardless of the situation in their home countries. ….

The third practice is the ill-treatment of migrants held in detention centres. Without dealing with this issue in depth, it is worth noting that what could be viewed as arbitrary detention is occurring on a large scale, in the absence of formal measures decreeing detention and without the possibility of appealing against decisions. In fact, after landing, migrants are summarily identified as either ‘illegal’ migrants or asylum seekers, largely on the basis of their nationality….”

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Oxford Law Workshop: Governing Forced Migration by Sea: A Legal Perspective (Oxford, 18 Nov)

Limited places were available as of 6 November.  If interested, register ASAP.

“In the past decades, the phenomenon of ‘boat migration’ has increasingly been perceived as a problem. In the absence of a detailed legal regime, coastal states have adopted their own regulatory approaches, challenging at times the basis of their international obligations. In light of recent developments, including the flows of refugees fleeing the war in Libya, the increasingly important role played by the EU in this context, and the expected decision by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirsi v Italy, the workshop, through an extensive analysis of the legal framework, aims at detecting both the potentialities and shortcomings of the regime currently governing forced migration by sea, so that possible solutions and spaces for improvement may be identified.

The workshop will take place at the Old Library, All Souls College, Oxford, on Friday 18 November 2011. Places are limited and registration to violeta.morenolax@st-hildas.ox.ac.uk or irini.papanicolopulu@law.ox.ac.uk is essential.

Programme: 10h Welcome address by Chair Vaughan Lowe 10h15 Guy S Goodwin-Gill: Introduction to Key Issues on Forced Migration by Sea 10h45 Efthymios Papastavridis: The Law of the Sea and Forced Migration 11h15 Coffee Break 11h30 Seline Trevisanut: Non-Refoulement at Sea 12h Discussion on the morning session/ Q&A 13h Lunch 14h Violeta Moreno Lax: Joint Operation Hermes 14h30 Irini Papanicolopulu: Hirsi v Italy 15h Tullio Treves : Conclusions – Cross-fertilization as a Potential Solution 15h30 Discussion on the afternoon session/ Q&A.  Organised by Oxford Law Faculty

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Gisti Calls for NATO to Use Its Surveillance Capabilities to Prevent Migrant Deaths at Sea

From Gisti:

“…  Faced with hundreds of fatal wrecks in the Mediterranean, can we simply denounce the deafening silence in which lives are lost at our doors? Should we accept being powerless in the face of immigration politics which we cannot change? Those who have drowned are not the victims of natural disasters, but of political decisions carried out by persons whose responsibility must be marked. In response to these attacks on the most fundamental right – the right to life – we must ensure that procedures are undertaken and that justice is done. We must stop this carnage. [***] These wrecks, sinking boats transformed into floating coffins of men, women and children, deaths from exposure,  hunger and thirst after drifting at sea, have become commonplace.  [***] But things have changed since an international coalition and NATO forces intervened in Libya. Today, AWACS, drones, planes, helicopters, radar, and warships watch everything that moves in the Mediterranean. They can not fail to see the boats of exiles from sub-Saharan Africa who seek to flee from Libya. [***] By not intervening, they are guilty of failing to assist persons in danger. This can not go unpunished. [***]>>

<<[***] Face aux centaines de naufrages mortels en Méditerranée, peut-on se contenter de dénoncer le silence assourdissant dans lequel des vies disparaissent à nos portes ? Doit-on se résoudre à l’impuissance devant des politiques migratoires auxquelles on ne pourrait rien changer ? Ces noyées ne sont pas les victimes de catastrophes naturelles, mais de décisions politiques mises en œuvre par des exécutants dont les responsabilités doivent être pointées. Devant ces atteintes au droit le plus fondamental – le droit à la vie – il faut que des procédures soient engagées et que justice soit rendue. Il faut mettre fin à cette hécatombe. [***]  De ces naufrages, des épaves transformées en cercueils flottants d’hommes, de femmes et d’enfants morts d’épuisement, de faim et de soif après de longues dérives en mer, l’opinion a pris l’habitude. [***]  Mais la donne a changé depuis qu’une coalition internationale et les forces de l’OTAN interviennent en Libye. Aujourd’hui, awacs, drones, avions, hélicoptères, radars et bâtiments de guerre surveillent tout ce qui bouge en Méditerranée. Ils ne peuvent pas ne pas voir les bateaux des exilés originaires d’Afrique subsaharienne qui cherchent à fuir la Libye. [***] En n’intervenant pas, ils se rendent coupables de non-assistance à personne en danger. Ceci ne peut rester impuni. [***] >>

Click here for full statement.  (FR)


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Interview with Frontex Deputy ED Gil Arias

EurActiv.es conducted an interview in Spanish with Frontex Deputy Executive Director Gil Arias where he speaks about several topics, including Frontex’s response to the current situation in North Africa, the possible implications for Spain should unrest spread to Algeria or Morocco, Frontex’s budget shortfall and need for supplemental funding, and the problems experienced by Frontex when it attempts to negotiate cooperation or training agreements with third countries.

Click here for interview. (ES)

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European Council Meeting Conclusions re Migrant and Refugee Flows from North Africa

While most of the European Council meeting of 24/25 March was devoted to economic policy and the Euro Zone crisis, the Council also considered the situation in Libya and the “Southern Neighborhood.”  The Council’s Conclusions noted that the Commission would be presenting “a Plan for the development of capacities to manage migration and refugee flows in advance of the June European Council.”  The Council conclusions also stated that “Agreement should be reached by June 2011 on the regulation enhancing the capabilities of Frontex. In the meantime the Commission will make additional resources available in support to the agency’s 2011 Hermes and Poseidon operations….”

Excerpts from the Council 24/25 March 2011 Conclusions:


18. The European Council discussed the situation in Libya and endorsed the conclusions adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 21 March. Recalling its March 11 Declaration, the European Council expressed its satisfaction after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which expresses the principle of the responsibility to protect, and underlined its determination to contribute to its implementation. It also welcomed the Paris Summit of 19 March as a decisive contribution to its implementation…. [***]

21. The humanitarian situation in Libya and on its borders remains a source of serious concern. The EU will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to all those affected, in close cooperation with all the humanitarian agencies and NGOs involved. The EU has stepped up and will continue its planning on support for humanitarian assistance / civil protection operations, including by maritime means.  [***]

25. The European Council welcomes the recent visit of Presidency and the Commission to Egypt as part of a first phase of consultations to promote a comprehensive approach to migration as between the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood region and the European Union. In this context the European Council invites the Commission to present its proposals on the Global Approach to Migration as well as on the Mobility Partnership well in advance of the June European Council.

26. The European Council also looks forward to the presentation by the Commission of a Plan for the development of capacities to manage migration and refugee flows in advance of the June European Council. Agreement should be reached by June 2011 on the regulation enhancing the capabilities of Frontex. In the meantime the Commission will make additional resources available in support to the agency’s 2011 Hermes and Poseidon operations and Member States are invited to provide further human and technical resources. The EU and its Member States stand ready to demonstrate their concrete solidarity to Member States most directly concerned by migratory movements and provide the necessary support as the situation evolves.  [***]”

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JHA Council: Commission is Studying Different Funding Possibilities to Assist with Impact of Migratory Flows from North Africa

A Justice and Home Affairs press release summarizing today’s JHA Council meeting includes the following brief summary regarding the topic of migratory flows from North Africa:

“Over lunch, ministers discussed the situation in Northern Africa, and particularly the situation in Libya and the influx of migrants, above all from Tunisia to Italy. Since the beginning of the year, some 6000 immigrants have arrived mainly to the Italian island of Lampedusa. Following a formal request for help from the Italian Ministry of Interior, received on February 15, Frontex and Italy have started a Joint Operation in the central Mediterranean area on Sunday 20 February. Joint Operation Hermes 2011, originally planned to commence in June, was thus brought forward. Assets and experts for this operation were made available from a large number of EU member states. More information.  In addition to that, the Commission is studying different funding possibilities through various EU instruments, such as the European Refugee Fund, the European Return Fund and the European Border Fund.”

It is unclear whether the JHA Council will address this topic further tomorrow when the Council meeting resumes.

Click here for full JHA press release.

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Frontex JO Hermes Update

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.

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Interview with Frontex Director Regarding the 5000 Tunisians in Italy

Frontex Director Ilkka Laitinen was interviewed by Spiegel Online.  He expressed the view that Frontex’s main task in regard to the 5000 or so Tunisian migrants who have reached Italy over the past several weeks will be facilitating the return of most of them to Tunisia.  According to Laitinen, only a “very few” of the Tunisians have sought asylum protection.  He also said that Frontex “experts [had] come to the conclusion that the flight of the 5,000 had been planned for a long time. ‘Twenty human traffickers have already been arrested[.] They had just been waiting for the right opportunity.’”

While the view that most of the Tunisians who have arrived to date in Italy will not qualify for asylum or subsidiary protection is shared by many others, if and when people begin fleeing directly from Libya, whether they be Libyan or non-Libyan, there will almost certainly be a much larger number of qualified asylum seekers in any new migrants flows, especially if the Gaddafi regime remains in power.

Click here for article.

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Malta Delays Decision to Participate in Operation Hermes

The Times of Malta reported on Sunday that the Armed Forces of Malta have not agreed to contribute assets or personnel to Frontex’s Operation Hermes.   AFM is still evaluating a request by Frontex to participate.

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Statement by Commissioner Malmström Regarding Today’s Launch of Operation Hermes

A short statement by the Commissioner regarding Operation Hermes was posted on the EU External Affairs web page today:  “…The mission is part of a broader framework of measures by the European Commission to manage these exceptional migratory flows. Other actions include cooperation with Tunisian authorities, identification of financial emergency envelopes and assistance by the European Police Office (Europol). … As part of the Hermes mission, experts from participating Member States will be deployed along with aerial and naval support to assist the Italian authorities. Human and technical resources could be increased according to future needs.  On the basis of the Operational Plan that was agreed with the Italian authorities, Frontex experts will assist in debriefing and interviewing migrants. Special attention is given to identifying those who may be in need of international protection. Frontex will also give aerial and naval support for border surveillance….”

Click here for full statement.

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Frontex Press Release: Hermes 2011 Starts Tomorrow in Lampedusa

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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Frontex Operation Hermes to Begin on Sunday, 20 Feb.–Push-Back Practice Prohibited

Commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced today that the new Frontex mission, Operation Hermes, will begin operations tomorrow, 20 February.  According to AFP, the initial deployment will consist of about 30 personnel, aircraft, and several ships.  A dozen member states have expressed willingness to send assests to the new joint operation.

In an interview published earlier today, before the announcement of Operation Hermes, Commissioner Malmström clearly stated that the Frontex mission will be governed by European legislation and that the interdiction and push-back of migrants encountered at sea is not permitted.  In the earlier interview the Commissioner said that the mission will provide surveillance by air in support of the Italian authorities which will detect any new influx of migrants as soon as it occurs and sound the alarm for naval surveillance which will in turn lead migrant boats to “safe ports.”  (“Di sorveglianza dal cielo in supporto alle autorità italiane. Potranno individuare ogni nuovo flusso di migranti non appena si manifesti. E lanciare l’allarme ai mezzi di sorveglianza navale, facendo condurre i barconi verso porti sicuri.”)  When asked whether push-backs of migrant boats would occur, the Commissioner said that the push-back practice was prohibited by European norms. (“I respingimenti sono espressamente proibiti dalle norme europee.”)

Click here and here for articles.  (IT)

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Frontex 3rd Quarter Report

On 16 January the Frontex Risk Analysis Unit released its Report for the Third Quarter of 2010 (July-Sept.).  The report contains data, charts, and graphs detailing detections of migrants, asylum seekers, false document use, detections of facilitators, and other information.  The deployment of Frontex’s RABIT force to the Greek-Turkey border did not begin until 2 November 2010, so the effects of the RABIT deployment do not appear in the Third Quarter.

The Report notes that the “unprecedented peak in illegal border-crossings at the Greek land border with Turkey is the result of a shift from the sea to the land border” coupled with a “large increase in the absolute number of migrants” using Turkey as an EU entry point.  The Report states that there has been an eight-fold increase in the number Maghreb nationals detected at the Greek land border which “is thought to be the result of a displacement effect from the West Africa and Western Mediterranean routes.”

The Report also notes an increase in the number of detections on the Central and Western Mediterranean sea routes compared to Q2 which may be attributable to seasonal variations or “may be indicative of reorganized modi operandi in these areas in response to Frontex Joint Operations, more effective border controls and bilateral agreements implemented in 2008.”  See Figure 3 below.

Excerpts from the Report:

“Detections of illegal border-crossing”

“…  Fig. 2 [see below] shows quarterly detections at the land and sea borders of the EU since the beginning of 2008. The 30% increase in the number of detections between the previous and present quarters is comprised of a 60% increase at the sea borders (although from a lower base) and a 23% increase at the land borders. This means that the shift from sea to land borders has not continued to same extent as in the previous quarters.  Nevertheless in Q3 2010, there were some 29 000 detections of illegal border-crossing at the external land border of the EU, which constitutes 85% of all the detections at the EU level, and the highest number of detections at the land border since data collection began in early 2008….”

“Eastern Mediterranean route”

The Report observes that there has been a shift in illegal crossings from the Greece-Turkey maritime border to the Greece-Turkey land border and notes an increase in the number of nationals from Maghreb countries apprehended at the Greece-Turkey land border.  “This route [being taken by Maghreb nationals] is very indirect, but is thought to be the result of a displacement effect from the West Africa and Western Mediterranean routes….”

See Figure 4 below which shows that detections of illegal border crossers at the land border of Greece have exceeded detections at the sea border since Q1 of 2010.

“Central Mediterranean route”

“There were 2 157 detections of illegal border-crossing during Q3 2010. This is more than a three-fold increase compared to the previous quarter and a third higher than the same period last year. However despite this apparently large increase, detections still remain massively reduced compared to the peak of around 16 000 during the same period in 2008 (Fig. 3)….”

“The JO Hermes 2010 which was operational between June and October 2010, focused on illegal migratory flows departing from Algeria to the southern borders of the EU, specifically to Sardinia. In 2010, there were fewer detections than in previous years….”

“Departures from Libya also remained low. In June 2010, a new law was implemented to serve more severe punishments for facilitating illegal immigration. Ambassadors of the countries of origin were called into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tripoli to be informed about the consequences of the new law, which suggests that this may be a serious implementation.”

“Western Mediterranean route”

“In general, irregular immigration to southern Spain has decreased massively since the beginning of 2006. However, in Q3 2010 there were 2 200 detections of illegal border crossing in the Western Mediterranean, more than twice that of the previous quarter and around a third higher than the same period in 2009. There is growth in the number of detections of a wide range of African nationalities, nine of which more than doubled in number between Q2 and Q3 2010. The most detected nationalities were Algerian, Moroccan, Cameroonian and Guinean.”

“Western Africa route”

“The cooperation and bilateral agreements between Spain and the rest of the Western African countries (Mauritania, Senegal and Mali) are developing steadily, and are one of the main reasons for the decrease in arrivals, as is the presence of patrolling assets near the African coast.”

“According to data collected during JO Hera, the numbers of arrivals in the Canary Islands and detections in West Africa are very low compared to the same time last year. The main nationality and place of departure is from Morocco, to where migrants are returned within a few days.”

Click here for the 3rd Quarter 2010 Report.

Click here for the 2nd Quarter 2010 Report.

Click here for the 1st Quarter 2010 Report.

Click here for my previous post regarding the 2nd Quarter Report.





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Details from Frontex General Report 2009 (Post 2 of 2)

Last week I posted a summary of the first part of Frontex’s 2009 General Report.  This second post summarizes the portion of the Report pertaining to Frontex’s sea operations.

The General Report 2009 provides selective information regarding the six major Joint Operations conducted at the sea borders.  With only one exception, no information or data is provided regarding the specific numbers of intercepted migrants or vessels.

Instead of numbers, the Report provides various descriptive terms which could mean almost anything.  For example, Operation Hera led to a “drastic decrease of migrants,” during Operation Nautilus there was a “remarkable decrease” in migrants, and during Operation Hermes, the numbers of migrants arriving and dying at sea “decreased dramatically.” The one exception is for Operation Indalo where the Report states that 750 irregular migrants and 10 facilitators were detected.

When desired, the Report provides details and numbers.  For example, Operation Poseidon utilized 4 open sea vessels, 6 coastal patrol vessels, 13 coastal patrol boats, six airplanes, 4 helicopters, and 152 experts who delivered 2680 man days of operational activities, but no data regarding the total number of irregular migrants intercepted at sea is provided.

Here is a summary of the information provided in the Report for each of the six major Joint Operations:

Poseidon 2009, Eastern Mediterranean (365 Days)

Poseidon was conducted along land borders as well as at sea.  Interpreters were deployed on board ships to facilitate the identification process of intercepted migrants.  Less than 10% of the interviewed migrants claimed their original nationality.  There was an overall reduction in migrant flow of 16% (land and sea) compared to 2008.  “The main operational objectives of the joint operation were achieved but there is a clear need for closer cooperation between local authorities.”

Hera 2009, Atlantic Ocean waters between North Western African countries and Canary Islands (365 Days)

Due to the permanent implementation of Joint Operation Hera and better cooperation from “involved African countries”, there was a notable reduction in migrants reaching the Canary Islands, 2280 in 2009 compared with 9200 in 2008.  Aerial and maritime surveillance conducted close to the territory of Senegal and Mauritania and local cooperation from police led to the decrease in migrants.  “Despite these clear successes, participation of more member States would greatly increase effectiveness and outcomes.”  [NF- While the Report does provide migrant arrival data for the Canary Islands, it is silent on the number of migrants intercepted at sea or within Senegal or Mauritania.]

Nautilus 2009, Central Mediterranean (172 Days)

There was a remarkable decrease in migrant arrivals in Malta.  A “significant obstacle to the effectiveness of the Joint Operation lay in the contrasting interpretations of the International Law of the Sea by Member States….”  The effectiveness of the operation compared with 2008 was not improved.

Hermes 2009, Central Mediterranean (184 Days)

“Due to the bilateral agreement between Italy and Libya, the number of people arriving from Libya, as well as the number of migrants died at sea, decreased dramatically….”  “In addition, the first examples of co-operation with Algeria should also be considered as promising.”  As with Nautilus, “differing interpretations of the International Law of the Sea led to a limited contribution by the Member States to the joint operation by maritime surface means.”  The effectiveness of the operation compared with 2008 can be considered as increased.

Minerva 2009, Western Mediterranean (39 Days)

The launch of the operation was delayed in 2009.  Its effectiveness compared with 2008 has remained the same.

Indalo 2009, Western Mediterranean (50 Days)

The lack of cooperation from Algeria is an obstacle for operational activities.  10 Facilitators and 750 irregular migrants were identified.

And as I noted in my earlier post, Frontex continued to devote the biggest single portion of its expenditures to maritime enforcement.  Almost 40% of Frontex’s total budget, over € 34 million, was spent on sea operations in 2009, constituting 55% of the operational budget.

This chart from the Report (p 23) shows the breakdown of expenditures within the 2009 Operational Budget (which was 71% of the total 2009 Frontex budget).

Click here for previous post.

Click here for the Frontex General Report 2009.


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