Spanish Navy frigate Reina Sofía (F-84) departed Rota Naval Base yesterday, May 18, to relieve ESPS Numancia, another Spanish Navy frigate integrated into Operation Sophia since January 2016.
Numancia has participated in multiple rescue operation during her deployment. Just recently, the frigate worked with Royal Navy’s HMS Enterprise to save 436 migrants.
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 try and prevent the illegal networks from operating in the central Mediterranean, arresting traffickers and seizing their craft, thus contributing to saving lives at sea.
ESPS Numancia sailed from the Rota Naval Base to take the place of sister ship ESPS Canarias. All three ships deployed to the operation this year are Santa Maria-class frigates.
Reina Sofía is the fourth vessel of the six Santa María-class frigates (FFG) built in Ferrol, Spain and commissioned in 1989. She is equipped with the necessary sensors and weapons to operate as a blue water escort.
Her complement consists of 200 people including the air unit support personnel and a Marine Corps Security Team.