Frontex will launch Poseidon Rapid Intervention on 28 December, replacing the ongoing Joint Operation Poseidon Sea with a larger number of officers and technical equipment to support Greece in handling the unprecedented number of migrants arriving on its islands.
Poseidon Rapid Intervention, which will take place in the same operational area, will also put a greater emphasis on security checks.
According to the operational plan agreed by Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri and Greece late on Thursday, 17 December, the deployment will gradually rise to some 376 officers and interpreters on the ground. They will include experts in screening, debriefing, fingerprinting and forged documents from various EU Member States and Schengen Associated Countries.
The screening officers play a key role in helping authorities to determine the nationality of the incoming migrants in order to identify and register them. Debriefing experts gather information about the activities of smuggling networks, which Frontex shares with national authorities and Europol.
Several vessels, whose crews are not included in the number of officers above, are also planned to take part in Poseidon Rapid Intervention.
While participation in Frontex Joint Operations is voluntary, Member States are obliged to send border guards and technical equipment for the rapid deployment, unless they themselves face an exceptional situation substantially affecting the discharge of national tasks.
The additional officers deployed to Poseidon Rapid Intervention will help to speed up the registration process on the Greek islands, allowing for a larger number of migrants to be registered and fingerprinted more quickly. Officers will also support security checks by consulting national and European databases, working alongside the screening, debriefing and fingerprinting experts.