20,000 lives saved in Mediterranean by operation Sophia vessels

Spanish frigate ESPS Reina Sofia and British survey vessel HMS Ocean saved 719 lives on July 19, thereby bringing the number of migrants saved by operation Sophia vessels in the Mediterranean Sea to over 20,000 since the mission started in June 2015.

The latest rescue operations started after several rubber and wooden boats were spotted by the Luxemburg Maritime Patrol Aircraft SW3 Merlin III and the Italian helicopter SH90 who reported the information to the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome.

While the British ship rescued 357 migrants from three rubber boats and one wooden boat, the Spanish frigate saved 362 people from three rubber boats and one fiber boat, with two air assets guaranteeing air support throughout the mission.

At the end of the rescue operation, all migrants had been transferred on board the Spanish ship Reina Sofia, that took further 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.

What is more, two babies were born aboard EUNAVFOR MED ships: 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.