Op Sophia flagship back on track

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Having spent less than two months idle in the port during her routine maintenance period, the Italian aircraft carrier ITS Cavour now rejoined the EUNAVFOR Med operation Sophia.

The Italian light aircraft carrier ITS Garibaldi assumed Cavour’s role on November 25, 2015.

Now that the original mission flagship is back, ITS Garibaldi is leaving the European Union military operation after an intense period of assignment as mission flagship having embarked the Force Headquarters Staff composed by more than 50 officers and petty officers coming from 22 different EU contributing Member States.

Additionally the 2 EH 101 helicopters embarked on the ship undertook 27 patrol and surveillance missions, flying more than 58 hours, in order to collect pieces of information about suspicious activities at sea, which represent the key to success in the fight against human smugglers and traffickers in the Central Mediterranean sea.

Launched last June 22, Operation Sophia is part of a wider EU’s comprehensive approach to migration, tackling both current symptoms and root causes such as conflict, poverty, climate change and persecution. Last October 7, the operation moved to its second phase in high seas. The second phase authorized the mission vessels to conduct boarding, search, seizure and diversion, on the high seas, of vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking.

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