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Parliamentary questions
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20 May 2019
Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000190/2019

In June 2017, the Italian Coastguard was awarded a EUR 1.8 million grant under the Internal Security Fund for preparing a feasibility study to assess the Libyan Coastguard legal framework and capability in terms of Search and Rescue (SAR) Services. The Italian Coastguard named this action ‘Aurora’.

The study was finalised and sent to the Commission in January 2019. It identifies the functionalities for the Libyan authority to build its own national mechanism for rescue operations, in accordance with international law(1). The study identified the technical and operational requirements to restore the national SAR system and the telecommunication network to allow Libyan authority to provide related services in the area of responsibility.

This includes radio equipment, command and control system, satellite communication device, maritime traffic monitoring system(2), training. It is part of a larger programme of EUR 46 million called ‘Support to Integrated Border and Migration Management in Libya, first phase’, adopted under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa — North of Africa window(3). In 2017, Libya declared the SAR Region and notified it to the International Maritime Organisation, while in parallel, the acting Joint Rescue Coordination Centre was defined.

The construction of the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) is part of the programme’s second phase (EUR 45 million, adopted in December 2018). The MRCC’s role is to promote an efficient organisation of SAR services and coordinate SAR operations between the General Administration for Coastal Security and the Libyan Coastguard.

The contract negotiations between the Commission and the Italian Ministry of Interior for the construction of the MRCC are ongoing. The tender procedures for the MRCC’s relevant equipment and systems will be launched in the course of 2019 and 2020.

(1)International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR), Hamburg 27 April 1979.
(2)Automatic Identification System (AIS).

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