The Armed Forces of Malta has provided on-scene commander training to nine Libyan Coast Guard officers at the army’s own Maritime Safety and Security Centre.

Following two intense weeks of training, ranging from search and rescue procedures to Medevac planning, the Libyan counterparts graduated in the presence of Libyan chargé d’affaires Elhabib M A Alamin and Col. Chirstopher Attard who presented the certificates.

The training formed part of the EU-funded project ‘Seahorse Mediterranean’.

The Seahorse Mediterranean project is a collaborative agreement aimed at strengthening efforts to curb clandestine immigration between Mediterranean countries.

It is an extension of the cooperation accord, existent since 2006, between African countries on the Atlantic Ocean coast. A continuation of the Seahorse Atlantico programme, this project made it possible to diminish migratory pressures via sea from Africa to Europe — a decrease from 31,000 migrants intercepted in 2006 to 332 in 2012 — and is financed by the European Commission with Lt. Col. Mark A. Borg as project leader.

Approved and funded directly by the European Commission, the project is led by Guardia Civil Spain and includes the committment of Italy, France, Malta, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece and Libya.

The agreement calls for the establishment of the Seahorse Mediterranean Network (a satellite-based communication network among the countries involved) and the training of those working as North African coast guards.

The current focus is to hold courses and practical training for coast guards in Libya. Other North African countries that join the programme in future will also be trained for effective and coordinated efforts against clandestine immigration.


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