European Union ministers on Monday agreed to take a tougher stance against smugglers and traffickers in the Mediterranean Sea.
It will enable the EU naval operation to conduct boarding, search, seizure and diversion of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking.
So far, the naval operation says it has gathered enough intelligence on illegal vessels during its first phase.
EU officials will now decide when to launch the next phase, which involves actually seizing and inspecting vessels believed to be used for illegal conduct like trafficking.
The enhanced role of the EU’s naval operations is in response to Europe’s growing migration challenge