By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 28 October 2015:
The EU naval operation to clamp down on illegal migrant crossings from Libya is not . . .[restrict]working, according to its deputy commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean. The only way to stop the flow, he said in Rome yesterday, was by going to Libyan territory, both the country’s inshore waters and on land and hitting the smuggler networks.
“The operation will only be effective when we can work close to the networks, go after the big fish not the little ones who go out to sea,” he said.
In the three week since it started, the operation, codenamed Sophia and designed to arrest the smugglers and seize their boats them had not done so at all so far, the French rear admiral admitted.
To move in on the smugglers in Libyan waters and in the country itself would need the UN Security Council endorsement.
With smugglers earning $74,000 for a small rubber boat with 100 people aboard, to $400,000 for a larger wooden one with 400 people, there would have to be alternative investment in such places to replace the trade, Bléjean said. In some places, he estimated, it now accounted for 50 percent of local revenues. [/restrict]