The UK Royal Navy has deployed its Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond to support the European Union-led mission to tackle migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean Sea.
In May, the EU approved plans to conduct a military operation to tackle human trafficking networks using ships, drones, and helicopters.
With the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2240, navy personnel will be able to conduct enforcement action on the high seas.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "These new powers are an important step forward. We will now be able to board the boats and detain the smugglers.
"Sending HMS Richmond to join HMS Enterprise in the Mediterranean shows Britain’s determination to tackle this trade in human misery at source. We’ll hit the traffickers hard."
The 133m-long Duke-class frigate, HMS Richmond, is capable of accommodating 185 crew members, has been designed to provide ASW and anti-surface warfare capabilities.
The new development will see HMS Richmond joining UK survey vessel HMS Enterprise, which currently supports the mission.
In September, HMS Enterprise rescued 377 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea as part of rescue operations.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), around 188,000 migrants have been rescued so far this year, while more than 2,000 people are estimated to have died trying to make the crossing.
Image: The UK Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond. Photo: © Crown copyright.