It’s the third time in a fortnight the Portsmouth based warship has picked up refugees and provided them with food and medical help.

The frigate came to the rescue during a day-long operation by European navies, which saw more than 500 people saved from a cluster of overcrowded boats trying to cross the central Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe.

British frigate HMS Richmond joined the EU mission in the Mediterranean to tackle migrant smugglers in October.

United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2240 (2015) gives her Commanding Officer the authority to conduct enforcement action on the high seas, including the boarding and seizing of boats suspected to be involved in migrant smuggling.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“These new powers are an important step forward. We will now be able to board the boats and detain the smugglers.

Sending HMS Richmond to join HMS Enterprise in the Mediterranean shows Britain’s determination to tackle this trade in human misery at source. We’ll hit the traffickers hard.”

A liaison officer will be on board HMS Richmond to advise her crew on legal issues including the identification, collection and preservation of evidence which could be used in criminal proceedings.

This latest rescue mission brings the total number of migrants rescued by Royal Navy ships in the Mediterranean to almost 7,000 since May.

As part of of the EU Naval Force Operation in the Mediterranean countering migrant smugglers, HMS Enterprise has rescued 439 migrants and HMS Richmond has rescued 102 migrants.

Before HMS Richmond arrived on task, she was involved in identifying people smugglers on her way to her starting location, leading to the detention of suspected people traffickers.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“The Royal Navy continues to demonstrate its invaluable work in the Mediterranean, saving 541 vulnerable lives.

Our focus remains on hitting the criminal gangs responsible for endangering the lives of innocent people. We are determined to tackle this at source. The new powers we have to board boats and detain the smugglers will help us put an end to this trade in human misery.”

The European migrant crisis became widely noticed used in April this year when five boats carrying almost two thousand migrants to Europe sank in the Mediterranean Sea, with a combined death toll estimated at more than 1,200 people.

The shipwrecks took place in a context of ongoing conflicts and refugee crises in several Middle Eastern and African countries and have resulted in numerous naval deployments by many EU nations in an effort to stem the crisis.

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István BlastikJason RushtonSteve Arnott Recent comment authors
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Steve Arnott
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On call taxi service once again

Jason Rushton
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so are the million and more going to return home when the civil war is over, & re-build their country ??

Steve Arnott
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Hi Jason,this is a question I’ve ask over and over again……I have no issue with migrants from a war torn country and the U.K / world helping but once those countries have been made safe again…..normally at the cost of our military lives…why don’t we send them back home

Jason Rushton
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Alright Steve, yep it’s just a simple question that people of the 21st century seem to be too frightend to ask. People are moaning about European imagrantes comeing over here & working/paying tax, & then sending monies earned back to their families. For a better life in their own nation. So what about these people? Both me & my partner’s Mother’s were migrant workers to the UK in the 40s & 50’s. But married English men & had a good life over here. My Mum was still sending up to half her monthly wages back over to Ireland up to… Read more »

István Blastik
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traitors