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Parliamentary questions
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7 September 2020
Answer given by Ms Johansson
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003321/2020

1. The use of aerial surveillance platforms, such as drones or aircraft, by Frontex provides for a much larger coverage of wide maritime areas and therefore for a better detection of small unseaworthy migrant vessels than patrol vessels and has already repeatedly led to the rescue of migrants in distress which otherwise would not have been detected. Once migrant vessels are detected, Frontex informs immediately the Member States’ maritime search and rescue coordination centres, which then coordinate the assistance to any vessel or person in distress at sea, in accordance with international maritime law.

2. The use of drones operated by Frontex and the European Maritime Safety Agency is not coordinated with Libya or any other third country.

3. The drones operated by Frontex and the European Maritime Safety Agency are equipped for civilian maritime surveillance missions. They have been selected following public tender procedures, which have been carried out by the two EU Agencies in line with World Trade Oranization (WTO) rules.

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