Portsmouth warship HMS Richmond given new powers to beat migrant smugglers

HMS RICHMOND has been given new powers to tackle migrant smugglers   PHOTO: LA(Phot) Luron Wright
HMS RICHMOND has been given new powers to tackle migrant smugglers PHOTO: LA(Phot) Luron Wright

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A WARSHIP from Portsmouth has been granted new powers in the fight to defeat migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean.

HMS Richmond has recently arrived in the Mediterranean as part of a task force to tackle people traffickers smuggling refugees and migrants from north Africa into Europe.

The Type 23 frigate’s arrival comes after the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2240 (2015) which gives her commanding officer the power to conduct enforcement action on the high seas, including the boarding and seizing of boats suspected to be involved in migrant smuggling.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon claimed the new measures would help to send a strong message to smugglers.

‘These new powers are an important step forward,’ the former Minister of Portsmouth said.

‘We will now be able to board the boats and detain the smugglers.

‘Sending HMS Richmond to join HMS Enterprise in the Mediterranean shows Britain’s determination to tackle this trade in human misery at source. We’ll hit the traffickers hard.’

A liaison officer from Frontex – an EU border control authority – will be on hand to advice HMS Richmond’s crew on legal issues including the identification, collection and preservation of evidence which could be used in criminal proceedings.

HMS Richmond joins UK survey vessel HMS Enterprise which continues its activity to locate the migrant smugglers operating on the high seas.