The spokesman of the Libyan Navy Forces, Colonel Ayoub Qasim, said that the implementation of the second phase of the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed on August 26 last year with the EU to train Libyan coastguards will soon begin.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Qasim said that the first phase, which kicked off in October 2016, is two weeks away from ending, saying there are now 20 Libyan coastguards on Crete Island in Greece receiving training on how to legally deal with illegal sea activities.

“The first and second stages are separate, so the coastguards of each one don’t have to meet; however, they will meet in the third phase, which is a practical one.” Qasim added, saying that the Operation Sophia and the Libyan supervisors’ reports about the trainees show excellent results and performance.

“The third stage will include all the trainees regardless of rank and they will be trained in two stages then move to Italy to be handed the Libyan boats.” Qasim remarked, explaining that the high-ranking coastguards will be trained to be trainers for local courses in the field.

Qasim earlier criticized Italy’s reluctance to give back the boats to Libya after they had been sent to Italy for service works since Italy.