EU Using Israeli Drones to Track Migrant Boats in the Mediterranean Sea

The European Union (EU) invested over $115 million in Israeli-made unmanned drones to police the Mediterranean Sea.

The Observer discovered three contracts with Frontex, the EU’s border and coastguard agency, and the European Maritime Safety Agency, totaling at $115 million with Israeli arms companies Elbit Systems, and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries.

The money is being spent to purchase drones from the Israeli companies to be used to provide intelligence to Frontex. The drones in question; models Hermes and Heron have been used in combat missions in Gaza.

Frontex has previously been accused by Sea-Watch, an organization that rescues refugees, of using surveillance drones to supply information to the Libyan coastguard.

Sea-Watch captain Tamino BAlhm said:

They never leave port unless there is a boat to head to for a pullback. This means the information they have comes from the surveillance flights of Italy, Frontex, and the EU.

Frontex has previously posting drone footage on Twitter.

It claims it still uses rescue boats, despite the fact that EU maritime vessels have not carried out a single rescue since last year.

The Guardian reported:

This spending has come as the EU pulls back its naval missions in the Mediterranean and harasses almost all search-and-rescue charity boats out of the water.

The death-rate of refugees at sea has increased from a two percent average to 14 percent this month, with over 500 deaths recorded.

In March, Operation Sophia a scheme to combat people smuggling saw the EU scaling back maritime operations.

The EU has previously been accused of crimes against humanity as it further relies on the Libyan coastguard to drag refugees to EU-funded Libyan detention camps where many have been abused.

This comes as the Italian government imposed a law which would see migrant rescuers slapped with a $1.12 million fine and a prison sentence.

Source: Palestine Chronicle