HMS Bulwark concludes Mediterranean migrant search and rescue mission

13 July 2015 (Last Updated July 13th, 2015 18:30)

The UK Royal Navy Albion-class assault ship HMS Bulwark has concluded its 60-day international search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea.

HMS Bulwark

The UK Royal Navy Albion-class assault ship HMS Bulwark has concluded its 60-day international search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea.

The vessel, along with three Merlin MK 2 Helicopters, was deployed to carry out migrant rescue operations.

The UK flagship has reached HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth after completing mission.

HMS Bulwark captain Nick Cooke-Priest said: "At the outset of Operation Weald our mantra was 'to save lives and lessen suffering' and that's precisely what we've done.

"Together with our international partners we've rescued thousands of desperate people who would have perished at sea had we not responded."

During the mission, the vessel rescued approximately 5,000 people from the waters between Libya and Sicily using its landing craft as rescue boats.

In addition, a total of 4,747 people have been processed through HMS Bulwark's survivor reception facility.

"Together with our international partners we've rescued thousands of desperate people who would have perished at sea."

The vessel was also supported by a detachment of Royal Marines from 45 Commando in Arbroath.

Cooke-Priest added: "My sailors and marines have consistently demonstrated their professionalism, skills and resilience in the face of some extremely unpleasant circumstances and I am immensely proud of them and all our achievements."

The 19,000t amphibious vessel was deployed for migrant rescue operations after a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea resulted in the deaths of more than 700 migrants.

During the operation, HMS Bulwark and crew worked closely with the Italian Navy and the coast guard.


Image: HMS Bulwark returns to the HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth. Photo: courtesy of UK Royal Navy.