Romanian Border Police officers have saved, transferred and transported 995 migrants in distress travelling on overcrowded small boats in the Mediterranean Sea, whom they handed over to the Italian authorities for specific formalities.
Romania’s Border Police Inspectorate General (IGPF) says in a press statement to Agerpres on Tuesday that the police officers, members of the Stefan cel Mare sea-going ship crew of the Romanian Coast Guard, are returning home after conducting a three-month Frontex mission in the Mediterranean Sea.
December 27, 2015 – April 5, 2016, the Stefan cel Mare surveillance ship took part in an “EPN TRITON 2016” joint mission organised by the Frontex European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the European Union member states conducted at the external maritime borders of the EU.
The ship carried out individual patrolling, reconnoitering as well as search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, at the EU maritime border south of Italy, together with police and law enforcement bodies of all the participating member states.
“Joint measures were envisaged related to the control of migrant flows at the maritime borders of the EU space, increasing efficiency in the exchange of intelligence among the law enforcement bodies of the member states as well as an efficient exchange of experience among the European border police officers. The Romanian border police officers conducted eight missions, patrolling for 71 days, travelling 8,358 sea miles,”reads the statement.
On their mission, the crew surveilled and monitored more than 1,803 boats of various sizes that crossed the patrolling area, in order to prevent illegal migration and other border offences.
The main objective of “EPN TRITON 2016” was assisting Italian authorities with surveillance of and control at the maritime borders of the European Union as well as with search and rescue at EU’s external borders.
It was a continuation of Frontex border control operations toward which the Romanian Border police are said to have contributed significantly in terms of technical means as well as in terms of number, profile and professionalism of dispatched experts, with praise for them coming from Italian authorities and the Frontex Agency.
As a result of Romania’s commitments to contribute to the European endeavour to manage migrant flows from Greece, the Romanian Border Police will provide additional human resources and technical means in the period immediately ahead for another Frontex-coordinated project called “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” in Greece.
In the period immediately ahead, the Romanian Border Police will dispatch to the Frontex operational area in Greece 62 officers, a sea-going ship, a coach and five patrolling vehicles. Romania’s contribution will be the third largest after the French and German ones, reads the statement.