A three-hour simulation exercise of Croatian military and police forces was held in the naval port of Lora in Split on Tuesday, with Fabrice Leggeri, the executive director of the newly-established European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), which co-organised the event, describing the exercise as impressive.
The first simulation exercise was held at sea off Lora and it showed the handling of a vessel transporting illegal migrants who were received and given medical assistance, after which they were taken to tents for registration.
The second exercise showed an operation the purpose of which was to prevent the terrorist takeover of a merchant ship, with Croatian services receiving information on the planned hijacking from Frontex whose staff saw and reported the developments from the air, after which the naval police went out to sea. Since terrorists fired at them, a special police unit was called in to assist the naval police.
Both exercises involved 140 members of naval police, special police and the Coast Guard who used vessels and helicopters.
Outgoing Defence Minister Josip Buljevic said that Croatia was ready for any situation and that the army and police had shown several times, including today's event, that they were capable of defending the Croatian border.
Outgoing Minister of the Interior Vlaho Orepic agreed with Buljevic, commending Croatian naval security forces as competent and capable of being a part of the European border coast guard.
A conference was held in Split on Monday focusing on international cooperation in border protection, with participants discussing current migration issues, the EU's response to them and the establishment of the common European border and coast guard the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The Agency, tasked with monitoring the EU's external borders and helping identify security threats, was established at a ceremony on the Bulgarian-Turkish border on October 6.