September 07, 2015 - 13:00 ( Brasília )

Defense

Brazilian Navy - Rescues migrants in Mediterranean Sea




The Brazilian Navy’s corvette V-34 Barroso rescued 220 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, reported the Ministry of Defense in a statement released on its website. The Brazilian ship was sailing towards Beirut, in Lebanon, when received an alert from the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to warn about a sinking vessel, taking on board immigrants going to Europe.

The ministry announced the request for assistance was submitted at 1:30 p.m. (Brasília local time) this Friday (Sep. 4). The Italian rescue centre asked the Brazilian ship to approach the vessel that was about 150 miles from the nearest land, in Peloponnese, Greece. The Barroso corvette arrived at the spot after sailing for one hour.

Defense Minister Jaques Wagner was informed of the operation’s details by the commander of the Navy, Admiral Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, and talked about the rescue operation. "The ship was going to Lebanon and ended up serving other humanitarian mission that is to rescue refugees, which is now a concern afflicting the whole world. We saved 220 lives and avoided more deaths like that Syrian boy who shocked the world," said the minister. Among the rescued people, 94 were women, 37 children and four infants (many of them were weak).

According to Defense Ministry, two Italian patrol boats helped conduct the operation, but, since the Italian Coast Guard could not receive immigrants on board, they requested for Brazilian assistance to rescue and take them to the Italian port of Catania.

The Barroso corvette left Rio de Janeiro on August 8th to replace the Brazilian frigate Union in the United Nations’ Maritime Task Force (MTF-UNIFIL) in Lebanon. Later this month the corvette will carry out maritime interdiction operations and provide training to the Lebanese Navy. Brazil assumed the command of the UNIFIL-MTF in 2011.