Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of leading maritime security company MAST, commented this morning on BBC Radio 5 on the security situation in Libya and the EU foreign and defence ministers’ plans to seize boats of migrant traffickers before they go out to sea.
Northwood, a former Royal Navy Captain and Operation Atalanta (the EU’s anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia) Head of Operations, said: “We are not at war. Smugglers are criminals and a crime requires burden of proof. It will be difficult to distinguish between a fishing vessel and a potential smuggling boat. Therefore lethal force may well result in collateral damage and loss of life or livelihood.
“A well co-ordinated humanitarian mission and blockade will impact on the smuggling organisations, but the solution is not on the water. This problem will only be resolved ashore.”
He added, “The lesson of Op Atalanta is that a positive and coordinated effort between the UN, EU and all other involved nations is necessary to improve security and achieve economic stability. This should also include the Libyans.”
Click here to listen to the interview and fast-forward to 1:40:00.