UK warship HMS Diamond to target people smugglers in Libya mission

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A British warship will arrive off the Libyan coast in the next few days in an attempt to intercept and arrest people smugglers.HMS Diamond, a Type-45 destroyer equipped with missiles and a fast-firing cannon, will join EU flotilla, Operation Sophia, tasked with catching smugglers at sea.Formal authorisation for the mission was given by Brussels in June.The intervention comes as the flow of migrants trying to cross the Meditteranean for Italy reached record levels.Last week, smugglers sent record numbers of migrants to sea, with more than 13,000 people being picked up by rescue boats and the Italian coastguard.The plan to deploy HMS Diamond was met with disapproval by the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Crispin Blunt. He told the Observer: “The smugglers are taking advantage of the fact there is no coherent government in Libya.“Until there is a political settlement in Libya that encourages a Libyan government to accept assistance in its territorial waters, I fail to see how this can be effective.”HMS Diamond joins HMS Enterprise, which last week rescued 700 migrants off Libya, and more than a dozen EU vessels.last_img

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