Portsmouth ship targets people smugglers

HMS Mersey during a recent deployment in the Caribbean
HMS Mersey during a recent deployment in the Caribbean
Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Jimmy Ring, left, with WO1 Lee Drinkwater RSM in Port en Bessin, in Normandy.

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A PORTSMOUTH-BASED warship is being deployed to the Aegean in support of Nato’s war against people traffickers.

HMS Mersey is the latest ship being used to tackle the tide of illegal people-smuggling and migration. It comes as Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said the international effort is working with numbers crossing being reduced by around 90 per cent – from several thousand a day to 10s.

Defence secretary Michael 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.’

Mersey will stay in the Aegean until the end of the month. She was previously based in the Caribbean tackling drug smugglers and was involved in a £12m bust in April.