The Spanish Navy’s frigate ‘Canarias’ (F-86), currently deployed as part of the EUNAVFOR mission ‘SOPHIA’ in the central Mediterranean Sea, has rescued a total of 557 migrants and transported them to the Italian port of Lampedusa.
The frigate received a call from a maritime patrol aircraft flying over the area which reported sighting a vessel with a large number of migrants onboard. It was an old fishing boat carrying five hundred people in very precarious conditions.
The ship’s ‘Sea Hawk’ helicopter took off and spotted the boat 20 minutes later. It took the crew of the ‘Canarias’ six hours to rescue the migrants using her own RHIBs and those of the Royal Navy’s ship ‘HMS Richmond’. The migrants were given first-aid, food, water and warm clothing.
Operation ‘SOPHIA’ is a multinational mission set up by the European Union to search and rescue migrants, and to help stop human trafficking.
The ‘Canarias’ is deployed to try and prevent the illegal networks from operating in the central Mediterranean, arresting traffickers and seizing their craft, thus contributing to saving lives at sea.
With this mission, the Spanish Navy also participates in the defense and security of Spain beyond its borders, wherever there are sources of instability.