The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has announced that it has deployed unmanned aircraft which will soon begin patrolling the eastern Mediterranean to help Greek authorities detect cross-border crime and rescue people. at sea.
In a statement issued on July 11, Frontex also pointed out that part of the event to launch the activity was made up of Greek officials, including the Secretary General for Island and Aegean Policies Emmanuel Koutoulakis and the Vice Admiral of the Hellenic Coastguard Georgios Alexandrakis, SchengenVisaInfo. com reports.
According to Frontex, the plane will be part of Poseidon, one of the agency’s largest operations at the EU’s external borders. In addition, there are currently 429 Frontex officers and employees in Greece, as well as 14 boats, two planes and 40 vehicles, including patrol cars, transport vehicles and thermal imaging cameras, which help the Greek authorities manage the borders.
“It will strengthen the operational capabilities of the Hellenic Coast Guard in border surveillance. The plane is carrying surveillance equipment, including thermal cameras and radars,” read the statement.
In this regard, the Acting Executive Director of Frontex, Aija Kalnaja, pointed out that the plane can fly day and night, adding that it has the capacity to transmit live videos and other information directly to the headquarters. of Frontex and its partners.
According to Kalnaja, this will make it possible to assess and react in real time to different situations.
“Our main mission for the coming months is to support the Greek authorities in border management and pre-border surveillance, as well as to detect and prevent cross-border crime. It will support efforts to save the lives of people who are very often victims of human smugglers and traffickers. A similar aircraft deployed in Malta saved thousands of lives at sea,” She also added.
Over 17,900 illegal border crossings were discovered on the Eastern Mediterranean route in the first six months of this year, 125% more than in the same period of 2021.
Earlier, Frontex revealed that around 23,500 irregular border crossings were recorded in May, representing 27% of all detections recorded at the EU’s external borders since the start of the year.
In addition, 86,420 illegal border crossings were recorded at EU borders between January and May, an increase of 82% compared to the previous year.
The missions undertaken by Frontex serve and contribute to the protection of the security of all Europeans by helping national authorities to fight cross-border crime and to deal effectively with hybrid threats originating from outside the EU.