Spain and Operation Sophia: Migrant Rescue at Sea


2016-01-19  Sophia Operation EUNAVFORMED

In a story published by the Spanish Ministry of Defense on January 16, 2016:

The Spanish Navy frigate ‘Canarias’ is deployed in the mission of the European Union, EUNAVFORMED Sophia, to combat illegal trafficking in the central Mediterranean, and recently has rescued 107 men, 10 women and two children trying reach Europe on board an inflatable boat of only 15 meters.

Early this morning the ‘Canaries’ received an emergency notice in which it warned of the presence of at sea migrants.

An hour later, the maritime patrol aircraft of the Air Force P-3 “Orion” flying over the area, spotted the two vessels.

In this situation, the commander of the operation ordered Sophia closer to the event, ‘Canarias’ and ‘Triglav’ ships, the Slovenian Navy ship also deployed in this operation, go to the scene of action to check the situation and prepare to help.

The Spanish ship approached at full speed to the area, and the 200 soldiers who make up the crew of the frigate were prepared to carry out a rescue that would involve three ships of three different nations. Later, he joined the rescue operations ‘Fiorillo’, of the Italian Coast Guard.

Upon arrival to the area, the frigate ‘Canarias’ assumed command of the action and with the ‘Triglav’ began the rescue, which were hampered by the storm surge and the prevailing winds in the area.

The ‘Canaria’ lowered its two inflatable boats, beginning the assistance to migrants onboard both boats. The first to be rescued were children and women. He then proceeded to rescue the remaining migrants.

The Spanish frigate ship they reached 130 people, 119 of the boat assigned to the Spanish boat and 11 of the second dinghy, of which the ‘Canaries’ took over until the arrival of Italian rescue ship.

Once they were all safely aboard migrants they were given blankets and dry clothes, food, water, and were provided medical assistance to those who needed it.

Then the migrants aboard the ‘Canarias’ and ‘Fiorillo’ were landed at the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Operation EUNAVFORMED- Sophia

The EUNAVFORMED – Operation Sophia “is a multinational mission led by the EU, as decided by the EU Council of May 18, 2015, which helps prevent the loss of lives in the Mediterranean.

The mission of the frigate ‘Canarias’ is to contribute to disrupting networks of illegal trafficking of persons operating in the central Mediterranean.

Translation by Second Line of Defense.

For an Italian perspective on the challenge of migration from sea, see the following: