Helicopters and drones will be used to identify the smugglers' boats.
But the mission has its limits — and it's threats. Warships will not be able to intercept vessels on Libyan waters where escort boats have been spotted taking migrants out to sea in rubber dinghies before leaving them to sail on.
Enrico Credendino, head of the "Sophia" military operation has admitted to a parliamentary commission that "we will not manage to arrest traffickers in high seas very often" and "at a certain point they will stop coming out into international waters."
A United Nations resolution is needed for EU crews to board and seize vessels. The final draft, seen by The Associated Press, would authorize the EU navy to board vessels "with a view to saving the threatened lives of migrants or victims of human trafficking."
Classified documents detailing the EU's plan for military intervention, leaked by WikiLeaks, reveals an admission by defense chiefs that they risk losing the EU's reputation if "loss of life be attributed, correctly or incorrectly, to action or inaction by the EU force."
Also revealed by Wikileaks is the acknowledgment that EU military force could be used against groups such as Islamic State "within the Libyan sovereign area."
"The threat to the force should be acknowledged, especially during activities such as boarding and when operating on land or in proximity to an unsecured coastline or during interaction with non-seaworthy vessels. The potential presence of hostile forces, extremists, or terrorists such as Da'esh [ISIL] should also be taken into consideration."
But to operate on Libyan waters, operation "Sophia" must have authorization from the internationally recognized Libyan government, which has been forced to operate from Tobruk on the eastern border with Egypt after Islamic State militants captured Tripoli last year.
Many of the arms used by rebel groups to overthrow Gaddafi are said to be in the hands of ISIL terrorists, who have gained ground in the coastal town of Sirte. So, it's not surprising the EU navy has classified concerns about the possibility of coming face to face with extremists on the water.
The UN Security Council is expected to vote later on the European Union's naval plans to stop, board and destroy smugglers' boats and arrest the people smugglers on board, in the hope to destroy their lucrative business model, where humans pay the highest price.