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New rescue in the Mediterranean

Aboard the NGO Phoenix, a member of the Italian Red Cross (credit: CRI)
Aboard the NGO Phoenix, a member of the Italian Red Cross (credit: CRI)

(BRUSSELS2) Another difficult day in the Mediterranean Sea for rescuers. On Friday (June 10), the Luxembourg Merlin III aircraft spotted several overcrowded inflatable boats 20 nautical miles off the port of Garabuli (in Libya). An alert cascaded from Operation Sophia Force HQ aboard the Italian aircraft carrier Garibaldi and to the Sea Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) in Rome.

The British oceanographic ship HMS Enterprise took care of 523 migrants aboard 4 rubber dinghies while the German auxiliary ship FGS Frankfurt did the same for 3 additional rubber boats carrying 293 people. Other canoes were then spotted by the Spanish frigate's AB 212 helicopter Reina Sofia.

Persons taken on board HMS Enterprise were then transferred to the Norwegian vessel Siem Pilot of Operation Triton. THE FGS Frankfurt headed towards the port of Messina (Sicily) after taking care of 243 migrants, saved by the Phoenix, vessel chartered by NGOs, during two consecutive rescue operations on Thursday (9 June).

At the latest report drawn up by Operation Sophia HQ (EUNAVFOR MED) in Rome, 71 suspected smugglers and traffickers were prosecuted by the Italian authorities. And 139 boats (109 inflatable boats, 27 wooden boats, 3 fishing vessels) were destroyed. Since its launch in June 2015, the European military operation has directly supported 15.600 people during 95 interventions and contributed to the rescue of 32.334 additional migrants by other means (Italian coast guard, Frontex, NGOs).


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).