UK to provide military support to tackle migrant deaths in Mediterranean Sea

27 April 2015 (Last Updated April 27th, 2015 18:30)

The UK is set to send the Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark, three Merlin MK 2 Helicopters and two civilian border patrol boats to the Mediterranean Sea to help tackle the refugee crisis.

HMS_Bulwark

The UK is set to send the Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark, three Merlin MK 2 Helicopters and two civilian border patrol boats to the Mediterranean Sea to help tackle the refugee crisis.

The decision was announced at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, Belgium.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: "What's emerging is what we need which is a comprehensive plan, going after the criminal gangs, going after the traffickers, going after the owners of the boats, potentially taking action there as well and stabilising the countries from which these people are coming.

"They will be savings lives, not offering asylum in the UK. That's the role we can play in the immediate term but a comprehensive strategy is what in the end will make the difference and solve this problem."

"A comprehensive strategy is what in the end will make the difference and solve this problem."

The announcement follows a recent shipwreck, which resulted in the deaths of more than 700 people after a fishing boat carrying migrants capsised in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Albion-class assault ship, HMS Bulwark, is currently supporting the Gallipoli Centenary events in Turkey and will depart next month for the new operation.

The vessel will work alongside the surveillance helicopters to offer day-and-night search-and-rescue capabilities, which can cover range in excess of 100 miles.

Other EU countries have also joined Britain in offering military assets.

In March, European Union law enforcement agency Europol launched Joint Operational Team (JOT) Mare, in a bid to combat irregular migration through the Mediterranean Sea.


Image: The UK Royal Navy flagship, HMS Bulwark. Photo: copyright UK Ministry of Defence / Crown.