UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has confirmed that the UK Royal Navy will provide training support to the Libyan defence forces in coastguard activities and search-and-rescue operations.
Previously announced in the G7 summit in May, the training highlights the UK’s contribution to the EU's Operation Sophia mission, which prevents the exploitation of migrants by smugglers in the Mediterranean.
Fallon said: “People smuggling across the Mediterranean saw 3,000 people drowned at sea last year.
“To help prevent more lives being lost, the Royal Navy will provide training support to the Libyan Coast Guard. Fighting the smuggling of people and arms will save lives and make Britain safer and more secure.”
The three-month training will see the participation of 78 Libyan Coast Guard personnel aboard two EU warships, reported Libya Herald.
The participants will be trained on advanced specialist skills, and the course will focus on human rights and international law, reported the news agency.
The training is expected to enhance the Libyan Coast Guard’s ability to secure its coast by preventing people smuggling and illegal arms trafficking in and around the country.
The UK Royal Navy will also engage specialist trainers to teach the coastguard in naval expertise such as how to sail alongside, embark and inspect vessels.
The navy’s RFA Mounts Bay began patrolling the Mediterranean to counter illegal arms trafficking earlier this month.
Image: UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon speaks to the media at Nato's October meeting of defence ministers. Photo: © Crown Copyright.