Spanish Navy’s Santa Maria-class frigate ESPS Canarias (F-86) left her homeport in Rota, Spain to join the EU mission of saving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
Coordinated by the EU Naval Forces, operation Sophia aims to stop human trafficking in the central Mediterranean Sea.
The multinational mission was set up by the European Union on May 18, 2015, to search and rescue migrants, and to help stop human trafficking.
This is the second time frigate Canarias participates in this mission. In 2015, she was the first Spanish Navy warship to participate in the operation. On that occasion, the F-86 arrested one of the traffickers and rescued 1,122 people.
ESPS Canarias is the sixth F-80 frigate ( based on the U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class) built by Navantia in Ferrol. She was delivered to the Navy in December 1994. With her displacement of 4,000 tons, a length of 138 meters and a crew of 220 people, the frigate is equipped with enough sensors and weapons to operate as a blue water escort.
For this mission the F-86 has embarked a helicopter and a Marine Corps security team.