The Spanish Navy’s frigate ‘Canarias’ (F-86) has relieved her sister ship ‘Navarra’ (F-85) in this EU mission designed to stop human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea. The ceremony took place in the port of Augusta (Italy) where they exchanged expertise and transferred the necessary material.
Since her integration in the operation in September 2016, the F-85 rescued a total of 2,675 people destroying up to 37 craft used in the illegal transport of migrants. On December 23rd a mother rescued the day before gave birth to a girl on board the frigate.
The ‘Canarias’ is scheduled to remain in the area until the end of June.
Frigates ‘Navarra’ and ‘Canarias’
The F-85 and F-86, with a complement of around 220 people each, are the fifth and sixth units of a batch of six FFGs (based on the US ‘Oliver Hazard Perry’-class) built in Ferrol and delivered to the Spanish Navy in the 90’s.
They are equipped with enough systems to operate as blue water escorts. For this humanitarian mission they operate a helicopter from the Spanish Navy aircraft squadron and a Special Operations team for security purposes.
Operation ‘Sophia’ is a multinational mission set up by the European Union to search and rescue migrants, and help stop human trafficking. It intends to prevent the illegal networks from operating in the central Mediterranean, arresting traffickers and seizing their craft, thus contributing to saving lives at sea.
Until the end of 2016, Operation ‘Sophia’ arrested and brought to justice up to 90 alleged traffickers and seized 310 craft used for the illegal transport of people.
Rescuing people is not the main goal of Operation ‘Sophia’ but it is a legal and moral obligation since, in agreement with maritime law, persons in distress at sea should receive all possible assistance from other ships in the immediate vicinity and be rescued, disembarked promptly to a place of safety, and receive a fair treatment once ashore.
So far, the European Union has rescued more than 30,000 people. Spain has contributed with four rotating naval units saving the lives of more than 9,000 migrants.
Training Cruises on board the ‘Juan Sebastián de Elcano’ contribute to the nautical, military, social and human instruction of midshipmen from the Marin Naval Academy
The offshore patrol vessel (OPV) ‘Vigía’ set sail from Puntales Naval Station (Cadiz) to conduct a series of activities in Africa as part of the Defense Diplomacy Plan and a follow-on of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiative
The auxiliary oiler and replenishment ship (AOR) ‘Patiño’ is to integrate into the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG-2) for two months
F-100 frigate ‘Méndez Núñez’ left her home port in Ferrol (NW Spain) towards the Mediterranean Sea to integrate into the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG-2)
Frigate ‘Reina Sofía’ (F-84) set sail to integrate into the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG-1) as part of this rapid reaction force deployed in Atlantic waters
The amphibious assault ship ‘Galicia’ set sail from Rota Naval Base to take part, as flagship, in the European Union counter-piracy Operation ‘Atalanta’ in the Indian Ocean
Frigate ‘Canarias’ (F-86), departed Rota Naval Base to integrate into EUNAVFOR’s mission ‘SOPHIA’ to help stop human trafficking in the central Mediterranean Sea.
The purpose is to enhance the interoperability between the Spanish Navy and the RAN, and to provide training to the crews of the Spanish-designed ‘Hobart’-class anti-air destroyers on board the AEGIS-equipped frigate ‘Cristóbal Colón’.
The oceanographic research ship ‘Hespérides’ has started the 22nd Antarctic Campaign in support of the Spanish science.