Op Sophia vessels rescue 475 persons off Libya
Multiple ships from EUNAVFOR Med’s Operation Sophia joined forces for the rescue of 475 migrants off the Libyan coast, February 20 and 21.
Four rubber boats, one spotted by the Italian helicopter EH101 on Saturday and one by the Spanish air force aircraft VIGMA D-4 on Sunday, were in distress in international waters north of the Libyan port of Sabratha when the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’s requested EUNAVFOR MED Force Headquarters to intervene.
German Auxiliary ship EGV Frankfurt am Main and Slovenian Patrol Ship Triglav, with the support of the German corvette Ludwigshafen am Rhein, were then tasked to intervene resulting in the rescue of a total of 120 people on Saturday and 355 on Sunday.
In both cases, upon completion of the rescue operation, the EGV Frankfurt am Main transferred the migrants ashore in Italy, in Lampedusa Island and Augusta respectively.
Launched on June 22, 2015, following a European Council decision, EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia, whilst contributing to the disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Central Mediterranean, is also aimed at preventing the further loss of life at sea.
In 7 months, upon request by the competent Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), in accordance with the International Law of the Sea, EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia assets have been involved in 55 rescue operations saving almost 9600 lives.