Spanish frigate Numancia returns from Mediterranean Sea rescue mission

Spanish Navy’s Santa María-class frigate ‘Numancia’ (F-83) returned to Rota Naval Base after a four-month deployment to Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean Sea.

During her EUNAVFOR MED deployment, the Numancia took part in six rescue operations saving the lives of more than 1,200 people. The warship further neutralized seven craft and arrested three alleged human traffickers.

The F-83, the second naval unit dispatched by Spain so far, has contributed to disrupt the freedom of movement of traffickers in Libyan territorial waters. The ship has also gathered significant intelligence on patterns used by mafia groups trafficking in human beings in the Mediterranean.

Operation Sophia is a multinational mission set up by the European Union in May 2015 to search and rescue migrants, and help stop human trafficking. It intends to try and prevent the illegal networks from operating in the central Mediterranean, arresting traffickers and seizing their craft, thus contributing to saving lives at sea.

The F-83, with a complement of 200 people, is the third unit of the six Santa María-class frigates built in Ferrol by Navantia and commissioned in 1988. She is equipped with the necessary sensors and weapons to operate as a blue water escort.