Britain is to send another warship to the Mediterranean to target arms traffickers in Libya.

David Cameron told the G7 summit in Japan the UK was ready to take an “active leadership role” in helping the North African country combat people trafficking.

The UK already has one ship operating in the area, HMS Enterprise. In June 2015 Enterprise replaced HMS Bulwark in the mission to rescue migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy.

For Britain to send an additional vessel the EU must agree to extend the mandate of Operation Sophia, British officials have said they would seek United Nations approval so that the new ship can intercept boats suspects of smuggling arms to Islamic State militants in Libya.

A Number 10 spokesman said:

“Once the relevant UN security resolutions are in place, we intend to deploy a navy warship to the region to assist in the interception of arms and human smuggling.”

The aim of this new operation launched by Europe is to undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels as well as enabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers. The Juncker Commission, in particular the HR Federica Mogherini, views this operation as a fundamental contribution to fighting instability in the region and as a way to reduce the loss of lives at sea and increase the security of European citizens.

More than 13,000 migrants have been rescued from the sea in the course of the operation.

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Rob Simmonds

Apparently we need EU permission first though

Peter Vine


UK Defence Journal

It’s not permission, it’s an expansion of Operation Sofia to accommodate the arms trafficking issue.

UK Defence Journal

Permission itself comes from the UN.

Peter Vine

Rob, your answer was good…his was better though 😉

Rob Simmonds

Peter Vine It’s in the article:
“For Britain to send an additional vessel the EU must agree to extend the mandate of Operation Sophia”

Rob Simmonds

THe UN can authorise the interception of vessels in sovreign Lybian waters. The EU must agree to expand the scope of Op Sofia, or the UK is acting unilaterally. Its not permissions per se, as George said, but it still requires EU authorisation for the UK to continue to operate under the Op Sofia banner if it decides to send another warship.

It makes sense that the EU would need to be consulted on extending an EU op, in fairness

Rob Simmonds

ah, my mistake 🙂

Jason Bartlett

From what I have seen its the un the uk needs to be talking to.

H Nelson

Wonder where we’ll get this warship from. Perhaps paint the Gosport Ferry grey and send it down there


A T23 might be a bit over the top but I can imagine that chasing arms smugglers might well benefit considerably from having an embarked helicopter so our River Class OPVs don’t quite cut it and nor does a minesweeper. Maybe a Bay class with one of the temporary hangers installed? There’s was one in the Med recently helping with the Egypt Air search which might well still be there but maybe it has other taskings already. I really wish we hadn’t sold our 4th Bay to Australia in 2011 for £65m. That money was traded for a lot of… Read more »


Yes let’s send an RFA Bay boat and call it RN!

William Richardson

Cameron you and your team have done all the damage we have no ships or crews to man them even the RNR can’t help us their ships were taken from them how many ships are waiting for disposal in Pompey dockyard

Simeon Hawkins

HMS Lancaster isn’t up to much…

That’s a decent percentage of the Royal Navy.

Gary Bond

I understand the action to save lives but what is protecting our waters everything seems to seen to deal with an issue that should be able to be felt within land by local forces or even local navay

Ian Allen

Don’t we need these ships for the start of WW3 as predicted by Dodgy Dave if brexit happens? 🙂

Chris Scott Caine

It’ll be bulwark I reckon

Albert Yome

They have 2?

John Stevens

Hopefully by 2025 the RN will be up to 25 Destroyers, Frigates and ocean going patrol vessels..
eek fingers crossed, and beyond that more escorts i hope.. The Royal Navy do a superb job where ever they are sent, but they sure do need those extra vessels.

Glenn Middlemiss

TAXI !!!!


It is handy that we have to wait for EU/UN sign off, as it gives us time to work out which standing duty will pull pull the ship from.

If it will go after arms smugglers, it has to be a real warship, as there has to be a risk that the smugglers will try and defend themselves.

As such, a frigate seems to be the only sensible option.