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Frigate ‘Canarias’ coordinates the rescue of 526 migrants off the coast of Libya. - Navy News - Armada Española - Ministerio de Defensa - Gobierno de España

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Monday, 18 December 2017 - document to 11:32:58

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Operation ‘SOPHIA’

Frigate ‘Canarias’ coordinates the rescue of 526 migrants off the coast of Libya.
The Spanish warship is participating in Operation EUNAVFOR MED ‘Sophia’. In more than five months the frigate has rescued 3,561 people.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Spanish Navy frigate ‘Canarias’, currently deployed in the EU Operation ‘Sophia’ in the Central Mediterranean, coordinated and participated last Saturday in the rescue of 526 migrants travelling in inflatable boats, some of them in poor condition.

The frigate received information in the afternoon that her presence was needed in the area for lack of other available rescue means. The ‘Canarias’ was 100 miles away.

The warship proceeded at full speed and dispatched her embarked helicopter to accurately spot all boats before sunset. Two of the craft had serious trouble and were about to sink. The frigate was appointed area coordinator by the Rescue Coordination Center in Rome.

During the rescue operation, the ship’s radars detected three further boats adrift and later proceeded to assist one of them. The other two were looked after by an NGO ship which sailed to the designated area.

526 people rescued

The ‘Canarias’ (F-86) initially accommodated a total of 385 people: 329 men, 47 women (8 of them pregnant) and 9 children from different sub-Saharan countries. She subsequently had to lodge the 141 people rescued by the NGO ship. Once they were all on board, the frigate headed towards the port of Salerno to disembark them.

In the course of five long months the F-86 has been deployed in the EU Operation ‘Sophia’, the frigate has rescued 3,561 people. Furthermore, four alleged human traffickers were brought to justice and 27 craft destroyed.

The ‘Canarias’ will shortly be relieved by her sister ship ‘Victoria’ (F-82)

EUNAVFOR MED Operation ‘Sophia’ is a multinational mission set up by the Council of the European Union in May 2015 to prevent the loss of lives in the Mediterranean.

This mission intends to thwart human trafficking networks operating in the area, a criminal activity which finances some terrorist groups.

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