Royal Navy Ship In Souda To Help In Migrant Crisis
SkyNews – The Royal Navy is to send a ship to assist with the migrant crisis in the Aegean Sea, Sky News has learned.
It comes as Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has warned the Government that migration from the EU has left the UK “creaking at the seams”.
RFA Mounts Bay, a landing dock, will join a NATO maritime group recently deployed to the region.
She is currently in Crete, waiting for diplomatic clearance to begin her mission in the waters around Greece and Turkey.
A Wildcat helicopter, from 825 Naval Air Squadron, has flown from Oman to link up with her.
A detachment of Royal Marines Commandos will also be on board.
If she doesn’t receive diplomatic clearance within 10 days, she will sail into international waters and conduct airborne surveillance using the Wildcat.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship will come under the command of a German ship, the FGS Bonn. The rest of the group is made up of a Canadian, Greek and Turkish ship.
NATO has repeatedly insisted that the ships are not in the Aegean to rescue migrants. Instead they will be tasked with surveillance and reconnaissance.
They are expected to operate around the narrow straits between Turkey and the islands of Lesvos and Samos, where so many thousands of migrants cross.
As of 1 March, 129,455 migrants had arrived in Europe by sea in 2016 according to the International Organisation for Migration.
Some 418 have died making the crossing.