Spanish Navy’s frigate ESPS Canarias rescued 517 migrants and is currently on its way to the Italian port of Lampedusa.
According to the Spanish Ministry of Defence, the frigate Canarias has rescued 442 men, 40 women, 33 children and 2 babies just a few hours ago. The migrants were trying to reach Europe on board a mere 20-meter vessel.
The frigate received a call from a maritime patrol aircraft flying over the area which reported sighting the vessel with possibly a large number of migrants onboard. It was an old fishing boat carrying five hundred people in very precarious conditions.
Upon receiving the call, the Sea Hawk helicopter from the Canarias began a reconnaissance flight and, in just twenty minutes, was able to locate the wooden boat crowded with migrants. The Spanish ship, then, informed the command of the operation thus initiating the rescue protocol.
It took the crew of Canarias six hours to rescue the migrants.
Once in Lampedusa, the 517 migrants will be disembarked.
ESPS Canarias is deployed as part of the EUNAVFOR mission Sophia in the central Mediterranean Sea.
Images: Spanish Ministry of Defence