Italian aircraft carrier leaves Mediterranean Sea operation

Italian Navy aircraft carrier ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi concluded its participation in the EU NAVFOR-led operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea.

The carrier stepped down from its duty as flagship of the mission on April 4, some six month after joining the group.

During its time spent with operation Sophia, ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi covered a total of 37.700 nautical miles, enough to circumnavigate the Earth twice.

Assuming its role is the San Giorgio-class amphibious transport dock ITS San Giusto, which will continue Italy’s engagement in the European operation.

Operation Sophia ships patrol the central Mediterranean Sea intercepting migrant and weapon smuggling boats en route to Europe. The units have so far prevented 414 boats from being re-used by smugglers while 109-suspected smugglers and traffickers have been prosecuted by the Italian authorities.

Last June 20, 2016, the EU Council extended the operation’s mandate until July 27, 2017 and added two supporting tasks: the training of the Libyan Navy Coast Guard and Libyan Navy, and the contribution to the implementation of the UN arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya.