The Central Mediterranean is the most affected by migratory flows.
While the primary focus of Operation Triton, which was launched Frontex launched in November 2014, is border control and surveillance, search and rescue remains a priority for the agency. Since the beginning of the operation, Frontex vessels and aircrafts have on regularly been redirected by the Italian Coast Guard to assist migrants in distress.
The operational focus of Triton has expanded to include other forms of cross border crime. Apart from numerous arrest of people smugglers, the assets deployed by the agency increasingly contribute to the detections of drug smuggling, illegal fishing and maritime pollution.
Officers deployed by the agency also support the Italian authorities in the registration of the arriving migrants. Debriefing officers collect intelligence about people smuggling networks operating in Libya and other African countries on the smuggling routes. The agency shares this information with the Italian authorities and Europol.
All assets deployed within the framework of Operation Triton operate under the command of the Italian Ministry of Interior.
The operational area of Triton covers the territorial waters of Italy as well as parts of the search and rescue (SAR) zones of Italy and Malta. It stretches 138 NM South of Sicily.
A total of 26 EU countries take part in operation Triton by deploying either technical equipment or border guards: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom.
Between January and December 2016, assets deployed by Frontex to JO Triton were involved in the rescue of 48800 people.