The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has deployed the Royal Navy’s multi-role survey vessel HMS Enterprise to help tackle the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, replacing its Albion-class assault ship HMS Bulwark.
The survey vessel hydrographic and oceanographic (SVHO) will receive the crew of Bulwark and will participate in the next stage of the EU’s operation that aims to tackle criminal gangs and smugglers.
In April, the MoD assigned the HMS Bulwark for the migrant rescue mission after the shipwreck of a fishing boat, which resulted in the deaths of more than 700 migrant people.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "HMS Bulwark has played a vital role in dealing with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, saving more than 3,000 lives.
"As a multi-role survey ship, HMS Enterprise is well placed to provide important assistance as we now move into this next stage. Meanwhile, HMS Bulwark will return to the UK for essential maintenance."
The vessel will be capable of accommodating a crew of between 60 and 70 for this mission. In addition, it has the capacity to house 120 people during operations.
The deployment of HMS Enterprise marks the continuation of UK’s contribution to the evolving Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operation in the Mediterranean.
The UK had also deployed three Merlin MK 2 Helicopters and two civilian border patrol boats for the mission. A Merlin helicopter will now remain on task to assist in the spotting of migrant vessels.
Image: The UK Royal Navy’s multi-role survey vessel, HMS Enterprise. Photo: courtesy of UK Ministry of Defence / Crown copyright.