UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced the deployment of the UK Royal Navy’s River-class offshore patrol vessel HMS Mersey to the Aegean Sea to support Nato’s efforts in combating the migration crisis.
The support is an extension of the UK’s contribution and commitment to tackle illegal people trafficking and migration in the Aegean Sea.
Announced by current UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the Nato summit in Warsaw, the extension will see HMS Mersey join the Nato activity until the end of this month.
Fallon said: “British ships have been at the forefront of the progress made in the Aegean helping to disrupt people trafficking routes and save lives.
“We must now continue to focus on stopping this trade in human misery for good.”
HMS Mersey will provide the taskforce with greater agility and enhanced ability to work in closer to the shore line. The ship has been conducting counter narcotic operations in the Caribbean.
Currently Nato ships in collaboration with Greek and Turkish coastguards are conducting operations to prevent migrant vessels from crossing the Aegean.
The UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships have also been successful in deterring those attempting the crossing in Aegean.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has also confirmed that "the international effort is working with numbers crossing being reduced by around 90%, from several thousand per day to tens."
Image: HMS Mersey to support Nato in countering migration. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.