Increased threat of bomb attacks in Libyan ports
ISIS militants remain in control of the towns of Sirte and Derna on the Libyan coast and navigation to these port is therefore ill-advised MAST, a leading global security provider, has announced.
According to a statement from the maritime security firm, there is an increased risk of bombing attacks by the government on vessels in these ports, due to attempts to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the country.
The Libyan government meanwhile has also denied requests from the European Union for permission to launch military strikes against human traffickers and their boats.
The EU has agreed a Naval Force to combat people smugglers operating from Libya. The operation will be launched next month, with headquarters in Rome, under an Italian Admiral.
As part of that operation a resolution is being drafted in the UN that would give the EU a legal basis for using military force against people traffickers.
Ultimately, the mission aims to destroy the smugglers’ business model, but Gerry Northwood, COO at MAST, says the operation can only succeed if developed into an “intelligence led blockade of the Libyan coast”.
“Without meaningful engagement with governments and militias ashore in Libya to restrict the freedom of smuggling networks to embark migrants on the Libyan shores, the mission will be constrained to treating the symptoms, not the cause,” he says.
“Even with a UN resolution, destroying boats is a legally and ethically complex proposition, and the impact of such operations will be limited by the ready supply of vessels along the Libyan and wider North African coast,” he added.