FGS Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to join Op Sophia in September

German Navy’s F123 Brandenburg-class frigate FGS Mecklenburg-Vorpommern will depart her homeport in Willhelmshaven on August 16 to join the EU mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is expected to join the EUNAVFOR Op Sophia at the beginning of September, the German Navy said. The frigate will first sail in the Baltic Sea where she will conduct damage prevention and combat readiness exercises before heading to the operational theater.

The frigate’s commander, Frigate Captain Christian Schultze explains: “The upcoming deployment requires best-possible preparations for both the ship and crew. These will be undertaken in the weeks until mid-September in order to tackle the challenges of this deployment. My crew has worked hard, is motivated, engaged, focused and will successfully master the deployment”.

Prior to this mission, the F 123 frigate took part in a missile firing exercise off the coast of Norway together with F 124 frigate Sachsen and the K 130-class corvette Oldenburg in April.

Back in December 2015, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was involved in a collision with a container ship in the 98-kilometer-long Kiel Canal, near Rendsburg, Germany on December 9. The warship was damaged at the stern area while the container ship had a breach in the starboard area and two broken containers.

As for the Operation Sophia mission, German Navy vessels have been part of it since June 2015.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), one million people reached Europe over the Mediterranean Sea in 2015. Of those, 154.000 crossed the Central Mediterranean Sea.

In July 2016, Operation Sophia vessels reached the mark of 20,000 migrants saved in the Mediterranean Sea since mission start in 2015.

Italian authorities have, so far, been able to apprehend 72 suspected smugglers on the basis of intelligence provided by Op Sophia vessels.