The 'Stefan cel Mare' maritime surveillance ship of the Romanian Border Police returned on Monday to the Port of Constanta from a four-month migration prevention and combat mission in the Mediterranean, during which the crew saved over 2,000 would-be migrants at risk in overcrowded, underpowered boats.
Between August 11 - December 1, 'Stefan cel Mare' participated in the THEMIS joint operation organized by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) along the EU's external sea borders.
"The 'flagship' of the Romanian Border Police has carried out individual patrol, surveillance, search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, along the external maritime border in southern Italy, together with the police and law enforcement forces of all participating EU member states. The focus was on enforcing joint measures to control migration flows at the southern boundary of the Community space, to allow the effective exchange of data and information between law enforcement authorities in the respective countries, and the efficient exchange of experience among European border police," the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The Romanian border police crew carried out 20 missions over a total of 56 days of patrol, during which time the Coast Guard ship traveled 11,478 nautical miles.
"During these missions, the Romanian border police rescued, transshipped and transported 2,082 migrants who were in danger on overcrowded, small boats, sailing in the Mediterranean Sea and who were later handed over to the Italian authorities for the due formalities. The crew of the ship earned appreciation from their partners for the professionalism shown during the missions, for their seriousness and involvement in their sustained work. Despite the often adverse weather and sea conditions, all the rescued people were brought safely to shore, with no problems whatsoever," said the Coast Guard officials.
The main goal of the THEMIS joint operation was to support the Italian authorities with the surveillance and control of the EU sea borders, as well as to search and rescue people in difficulty at sea at the external border of the European Union.
This is a continuation of the border control operations organized by Frontex, and which have seen a significant contribution by the Romanian Border Police both in terms of technical means and of the number, profiles and results obtained by the seconded experts whose work earned praise from both the Italian authorities and the Agency. The operation was funded by Frontex.