Yesterday, in a joint effort of EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia’s assets , the Spanish Frigate ESPS Reina Sofia and the British Survey Vessel HMS Enterprise saved 719 lives at sea.
The rescue operations started after several rubber and wooden boats were spotted by the Luxemburgish Maritime Patrol Aircraft SW3 Merlin III and the Italian helicopter SH90 who reported the information to the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome.
From then on, while the British ship rescued 357 migrants from 3 rubber boats and 1 wooden boat and the Spanish frigate saved 362 people from 3 rubber boats and 1 fiber boat, the two air assets guaranteed air support to all the assets, not only part of EUNAVFOR MED, who were operating in the area to safeguard human life at sea.
At the end of the rescue operation, all migrants had been transferred on board the Spanish ship Reina Sofia, that took also other 122 migrants from an Italian coast guard vessel.
Considering these rescue operations, since mission launch on 22 June 2015, operation SOPHIA has saved 20.000 lives at sea: among them, 1040 children and 19 babies. Indeed, on board EUNAVFOR MED ships, were born two babies: Sophia, the baby the operation is named after on board the German frigate Schleswig-Holstein , and only few days ago a little boy on board the German auxiliary ship Werra .
EUNAVFOR MED operation SOPHIA ’s core mission is to disrupt the business model of human traffickers and smugglers, no less, saving life at sea is both a moral and international law obligation.