The Latest: EU Med efforts enter new phase, chasing smugglers, traffickers of migrants

The latest developments as hundreds of thousands of people seeking safety make an epic trek through Europe. All times local.


10: 35 a.m.

The European Union says it is going after suspected migrant trafficking and smuggling vessels in the international waters of the Mediterranean with an Italian aircraft carrier and five other vessels.

In reaction to the tens of thousands of people crossing the Mediterranean and the thousands of lives lost, the EU set up an operation that initially centered on saving those drifting on the high seas and would later also include directly targeting smuggling and trafficking operations.

Led by the Italian flagship Cavour, the flotilla also includes two German and a British, French and Spanish warship each. Seven planes and helicopters are also part of Operation Sophia.

Naval personnel of EU nations are allowed "to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law" as of Wednesday.