Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri signed the amended operational plan of the Joint Operation Triton, expanding its operational area and bringing in a number of additional experts, vessels and aircraft.
The operational area will be extended to 138 NM south of Sicily. During the peak summer season, Triton will deploy 3 airplanes, 6 Offshore Patrol Vessels, 12 patrol boats, 2 helicopters, 9 debriefing and 6 screening teams.
“We have dramatically increased the deployment levels in the Central Mediterranean to support the Italian authorities in controlling its sea borders and in saving lives, too many of which have already been tragically lost this year,” Fabrice Leggeri said.
The European Commission will soon provide Frontex with additional EUR 26.25 million to strengthen Operation Triton in Italy and Poseidon Sea in Greece from June 2015 until the end of the year. The budget for Triton for this year will stand at EUR 38 million and EUR 18 million for Poseidon Sea.
Next year, the European Commission will provide Frontex with additional EUR 45 million for the two operations.
Frontex will also intensify its efforts to dismantle people smuggling networks by deploying nine debriefing teams.
“The role of the debriefing officers is particularly important because they collect intelligence about the criminals operating in Libya and other countries of transit. In this way Frontex is assisting the Italian authorities and Europol in their investigations and efforts to dismantle the smuggling networks preying on desperate people,” he added.
Another important development is the establishment of a regional base in Sicily from which Frontex will coordinate the operation and work closely with liaison officers from Europol, Eurojust and EASO in support of the Italian authorities.
A total of 26 European countries are taking part in Triton by deploying experts and technical equipment. These are: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.