Blog AnalysisMediterranean seaMissions Operations

The Libyan coastguard corps being reconstituted

The San Giusto (© NGV / B2)

(B2 on the San Giusto, Malta) The training of Libyan coast guards and sailors is beginning to enter a more complete phase, as those responsible for Operation Sophia (EUNAVFOR Med) explained to a few journalists (including B2). ), during a briefing aboard the operation's flagship, the San Giusto, specially anchored in the port of Malta for the time of the informal meeting of Defense Ministers.

Three training cycles

Coast guard training takes place in three cycles, the first, called “basic training”, made it possible to train 93 sailors over a period of 14 weeks, from October 26, 2016 to February 13, 2017 on two ships, Italian and Dutch. . This training aims to provide the basics of the framework for action at sea: international humanitarian law, maritime law, search and rescue, fisheries control, maritime environmental protection, basic language skills (the English, international maritime language). A new cycle could take place “ if the Libyans ask for it ».

The second cycle of “improvement” is currently underway. It normally lasts 14 weeks and concerns groups of soldiers of different ranks. Some courses are quite theoretical, others more practical. A first session took place from January 30 to February 9 in Crete (Greece) for 20 experienced officers + 1 tutor, on different specialized theoretical points: the application of maritime legislation (MLE), intelligence, collection of evidence and crime scene investigations, coast guard organization, legal aspects, etc. A second session took place in Malta from March 6 to 17 and from March 27 to April 7, successively involving 12 officers on maritime legislation and 8 others on coordination.

Italy should take over to train 255 trainees in total: 65 to train the crew of 5 patrol ships, 20 officers and 25 non-commissioned officers for maintenance, 25 operating room operators, 8 trainers, 56 assistants -officers. Another series of courses should take place in Spain to finalize this second cycle, with more technical training, on maintenance, maritime legislation, on-board visits and inspections for 36 trainees (Visit, board, search, and seizure or VBSS).

Finally, the third cycle should be properly operational, lasting around eight weeks, at sea, allowing crews and officers to put into practice all the theoretical knowledge gained in the various seminars. This, on board the ten patrol vessels, restored to operational condition by the Italians, and returned to the Libyan authorities (*).

The objective would thus be to have by the summer of 2017 a Libyan coast guard in working order, or at least an embryonic coast guard, with ten operational vessels, crews, maintenance personnel and command. With this training and the new ships promised by Italy, “ something could change » confirms the spokesperson for the operation, Captain Antonello de Renzis Sonnino. We hope so…

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) Ships which, for the most part, were under maintenance during the 2011 war and had been seized as part of the embargo put in place by the Allies and the United Nations

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).