EU adopts ban on boat sales to Libya

TMP – 01/08/2017

In a bid to make it harder for human traffickers to smuggle people from Libya to Italy across the Mediterranean, the European Union (EU) has allowed its member countries to limit the export of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya.

The idea was proposed at the beginning of June by Malta and was adopted by the foreign ministers of the 28 EU states in July to help stem the flow of migrants from Libya to Italy.

EU countries can now ban the export or supply of boats and related materials to Libya in situations where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will be used by people smugglers and human traffickers. The ban also applies to boats transiting through the EU.

According to the regulation, exporters of materials that can be used by smugglers to send people from Libya to Italy will now need prior authorization from their governments.

“We took a decision to introduce restrictions from today onwards on the export and supply to Libya of inflatable boats and motors,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.

“These devices are used by traffickers for smuggling activities. The decision we have taken at the European Union level will help make their businesses and lives even more complicated,” Mogherini said.

The EU statement says that the restrictions will not prevent the export of these goods when they are meant for use by fishermen and others who have legitimate needs for boats or motors for their boats.