Royal Navy saves hundreds of migrants from endangered ship

Migrants are led to safety from their stricken vessel on to a landing craft from HMS Bulwark Picture: PO(Phot) Carl Osmond
Migrants are led to safety from their stricken vessel on to a landing craft from HMS Bulwark Picture: PO(Phot) Carl Osmond
HMS Duncan has returned to Portsmouth after spending three months in the Mediterranean Picture:  L/Phot Louise George

HMS Duncan returns to Portsmouth after three months away at sea

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Royal Navy sailors have rescued more than 300 migrants crammed into a wooden boat in the Mediterranean.

HMS Bulwark intercepted the endangered ship as it attempted to cross waters north of Libya and dispatched five landing craft to its aid.

Among the hundreds saved were 50 small children.

The Royal Navy ship saved 369 people in total and will now be used to help transport more than 800 stranded migrants to points of safety.

Defence secretary Michael Fallon praised the efforts of the crew, but stressed there was work left to be done.

He said: ‘HMS Bulwark and her crew have once again saved hundreds of lives in the Mediterranean migrant crisis, offering medical assistance, food, water and dry clothes to those in need.

369 migrants crammed into a heavily overcrowded wooden hulled boat which was located in the waters just north of Libya with HMS Bulwark in the background

369 migrants crammed into a heavily overcrowded wooden hulled boat which was located in the waters just north of Libya with HMS Bulwark in the background

‘A wider political solution is required to this crisis, but that does not detract from today’s rescue at sea.’

Prime minister David Cameron sent Bulwark to alleviate the growing crisis of treacherous migrant crossings earlier this month, after more than 800 people died on a boat travelling from Libya.

It is a flagship of the Royal Navy and was involved in one of five rescue operations that took place today – which included Italian, German and Irish naval units.

HMS Bulwark’s commanding officer Captain Nick Cooke-Priest, said: ‘My sailors and marines have once again demonstrated great skill, sense and adaptability, and have carried out the task with complete success.

I have no doubt that we have again, today, saved hundreds of lives; some horrifyingly young

Captain Nick Cooke-Priest

‘I have no doubt that we have again, today, saved hundreds of lives; some horrifyingly young.’