Portugal is one of the six European countries, among which Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Luxembourg, participating in the operation Hera III, that just started, directed to the fight against illegal immigration by sea. Portugal participates with experts of the Immigration and Borders Service, along with experts from Germany, Spain, Italy and Luxembourg, who will assure interviews to the illegal immigrants who arrive at the Canary Islands in order to identify and collect information which may contribute to the reinforcement of the inquiries against the criminal organizations dedicated to illegal immigration and to the trafficking of human beings. Hera III also counts on joint patrols, with aerial and naval resources, along the African Atlantic coast - Senegal and Mauritania - with the authorization and support of the local authorities. The operations Hera I and II, in the Summer and in the Autumn of 2006, preceded the present operation, under coordination of the Frontex Agency, in order to fight against illegal immigration by sea to the Canary Islands, in both which Portugal also participated.
Lisbo, 16th February 2007