Navy ship HMS Enterprise rescues nearly 400 migrants off Libya
HMS Enterprise has saved close to 400 migrants off the coast of Libya on a day which saw the Italian coastguard overwhelmed by multiple rescue operations.
The British Navy ship was called upon to join the Italian-led mission to provide "life-saving assistance" along with other European ships, which were involved in saving more than 4,000 migrants in 20 operations, the Ministry of Defence said.
HMS Enterprise has been deployed to the Mediterranean for intelligence gathering as part of a wider EU mission to detect and disrupt people-smuggling gangs.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "Once again, our Royal Navy has rescued a large number of migrants from the Mediterranean.
"Our focus remains on smashing the criminal smuggling gangs who are putting innocent lives at risk.
"HMS Enterprise is well equipped for that task, as is the frigate HMS Richmond, which we have also now offered to the mission."
The news comes following an announcement earlier this week that the UK is to offer HMS Richmond to support the boarding and seizing of vessels in the southern Mediterranean which belong to criminal gangs.
The ship will also stand ready to assist with search and rescue operations.