Royal Navy ships participating in a joint EU crackdown on immigration in the Mediterranean, will be under the command of a Palma-based control centre.
Operation Ulysses will be launched next year involving the British, Spanish, France, Italian, Portuguese and Greek navies in an attempt to stop the flood of immigration into the European Union across Southern European borders. Command of the operation will be rotational, with Spain in charge when the operation is launched and, it was announced in Madrid yesterday, that the command centre is to be set up in Palma. All of the participating countries will also be helping to fund the European Union initiative aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration. Royal Navy and Spanish frigates have already been deployed in the Mediterranean to patrol key waters popular with illegal immigrant smuggling vessels. Once Operation Ulysses has been launched, a huge “radar net,” controlled in Palma, will be thrown up across the Mediterranean, able to detect and monitor all shipping movements. Operation Ulysses is one of two new initiatives the European Union will be launching next year to tighten Mediterranean maritime border and port controls. At the end of February the operation will be extended to include the Canary Islands. Customs, immigration departments, police and navies will all be participating in the crackdown on illegal immigration in the EU.