German tender ‘Rhein’ returning from Mediterranean operation Sophia
German Navy tender FGS Rhein is returning home after a five-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea and the EU-led migrant crisis operation Sophia.
The tender is set to return to her homeport in Kiel on August 28 after spending five months in the Mediterranean where she helped save lives and fight people smugglers.
In addition to operations related to the EU migrant crisis, the tender and an embarked vessel boarding team from Lithuania intercepted the Libyan-flagged vessel ‘El Mukthar’ in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea on May 1.
According to EUNAVFOR, several types of weapons including machine guns, AK47 rifles, RPG bullets, RPG launchers, mortar grenades and ammunition were found and seized during the inspection.
According to the German Navy, FGS Rhein has rescued 2.100 persons from unseaworthy vessels on their route from the Libyan coast to Italy.
The ship’s 67 crew traveled a total of 25.000 nautical miles during their deployment. Their place in the international operation is being taken by another German ship, the frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which got underway for the Med on August 7.
Operation Sophia was launched on June 22, 2015 with the core task to contribute to wider EU efforts to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.
Additionally, from October 2016 EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia has been carrying out two additional tasks: the training of the Libyan Navy and Libyan Navy Coast Guard and the implementation of the arms embargo off the coast of Libya.