Norway to contribute in the Mediterranean

The Norwegian Government has decided that the country will contribute one civilian vessel to Operation Triton in the Mediterranean. The ship will be operative in the area around 1 August, in line with needs reported by Frontex. The ship will initially be available for six months. This will be the first time for Norway to participate with a ship in an operation of this kind in the Mediterranean. If the EU decides to extend the operation’s mandate, Norway will look into how the country can further contribute.

“I am deeply concerned about the difficult situation in the Mediterranean; Norway must bear our share of the responsibility of the responsibility to help. The tragedy where more than 700 lost their lives over the weekend has again demonstrated the desperate situation for refugees attempting to reach Europe», says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Norwegian authorities have been looking into what kind of contributions that may be relevant.  Last week, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, held meetings at Frontex headquarters in Warsaw. For Norway, it has been important to offer help and assistance according to the needs of the organisation.  The Government has therefore decided to make available one vessel with crew as soon as possible. The crew will consist of civilians and also justice and defence personnel.

“I am glad the EU now place the difficult situation in the Mediterranean high on the political agenda. This is a challenge which must be met by a coordinated European response. Norway will consider further how we may contribute”, says Solberg.

There has been a strong increase in the number of immigrants attempting to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, with a great loss of lives. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said this weekend’s tragedy was the worst ever in the Mediterranean.

“Migration from North Africa to Europe has become an industry where human beings are exploited by organised criminal networks. In a cynical and ruthless way people are sent off on hazardous journey where they have no influence on their own fate”, says Prime Minister Erna Solberg.