French Navy aviso leaves EU’s migrant crisis operation in Mediterranean Sea

FS Commandant l’Herminier. Photo: EUNAVFOR

French Navy aviso FS Commandant l’Herminier bid farewell to EUNAVFOR’s Mediterranean Sea operation Sophia last weekend.

The ship contributed to the prevention of arms and migrant smuggling since she joined the mission on November 12.

During her time with the operation, Commandant l’Herminier was involved in several activities regarding the contribution to the UN arms embargo: 15 vessels queried, 2 friendly approaches, one flag enquiry. This allowed the force also to better understand the pattern of life of the vessels transiting off the coast of Libya in the high seas.

Commandant l’Herminier’s sister ship FS Commandant Birot will soon join operation Sophia to represent the French contribution to the mission.

The two ships belong to the D’Estienne d’Orves-class avisos in service with the French and Argentine navies. After France decommissioned eight ships in the class, six were sold to Turkey where they were classified as Burak-class corvettes. The three ships that Argentina operates were initially ordered by the South African Navy but were later sold to Argentina due to UN arms sanctions against South Africa.

EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia’s core mission is to disrupt the business model of human traffickers and smugglers and save lives at sea. Thus far, in fact, following EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia’s activities, 101-suspected smugglers and traffickers have been prosecuted by the Italian authorities and 358 boats have been prevented from being re-used by smugglers.

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