HMS Enterprise

The UK Royal Navy’s multi-role survey vessel HMS Enterprise has identified four small migrant vessels and rescued 453 people from the Mediterranean Sea.

The rescue operation, which occurred off the coast of Libya, involved several other European ships and rescued around 4,400 people after receiving distress calls from more than 20 vessels.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) deployed HMS Enterprise to help tackle the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean in June, replacing its Albion-class assault ship HMS Bulwark.

UK Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt said: "Britain continues to play a vital role in the Mediterranean and I want to thank HMS Enterprise for this latest life-saving mission.

"The international community must do all it can to go after the criminal gangs and people smugglers who trade so carelessly with the lives of others."

"Britain continues to play a vital role in the Mediterranean."

The operation was part of an Italian-led EU mission and the rescued migrants were later transferred to the southern Italian port of Taranto.

HMS Enterprise is capable of accommodating a crew of between 60 and 70 for this mission. It also has the capacity to house 120 people during operations.

In addition, the UK deployed three Merlin MK 2 helicopters and two civilian border patrol boats for the mission. A Merlin helicopter is on task to assist in the spotting of migrant vessels.

HMS Bulwark previously rescued approximately 5,000 people from the waters between Libya and Sicily using its landing craft as rescue boats during its 60-day international search and rescue mission.

Image: The UK Royal Navy’s multi-role survey vessel, HMS Enterprise. Photo: courtesy of UK Ministry of Defence / Crown copyright.