HMS Echo, a Royal Navy multi-role survey vessel, will be taking the place of sister ship HMS Enterprise which has represented UK’s contribution to the European migrant-crisis mission in the Mediterranean Sea.
During her time spent with operation Sophia, Enterprise has saved over 9,000 lives of around 30,000 migrants rescued during the operation to date. The ship also helped curb the activities of smuggling gangs.
Enterprise was alongside in Gibraltar where UK’s Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning was able to personally thank members of the ship’s crew during a visit to the British overseas territory on Sunday.
Aboard the ship, he presented Enterprise with the Firmin Sword of Peace in recognition of her service.
Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said: “Through the stellar efforts of HMS Enterprise and her crew, the Royal Navy has continued to provide vital support in the Mediterranean, saving thousands of lives.”
We remain committed to this operation, which is hitting the criminal gangs responsible for putting innocent lives at risk, and HMS Echo will continue the UK’s contribution.”
In addition to Enterprise, several other Royal Navy ships have deployed to support operations in the Mediterranean.
This includes HMS Bulwark, HMS Diamond, HMS Richmond and RFA Mounts Bay.
Following support provided to the operation since July, Mounts Bay will now return to the UK to prepare for redeployment to provide security and assurance to British overseas territories in the Caribbean.
There she will be involved in counter-narcotics patrols, and will be on standby to support disaster relief operations, including carrying emergency relief.