Port of call of the French aviso "Commandant Birot" [fr]
The aviso “Commandant Biro”, engaged in operation Triton, call in at Malta from 14th to 17th of May. The captain Thomas Vuong welcomed on board on Friday 15th the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Malta, Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, during an official lunch in the presence of the Ambassador of France Ms. Béatrice le Fraper du Hellen.
They talked about different matters, in particular migrations in the Mediterranean, the role of operation Triton conducted by the European agency Frontex and the commitments of new navy forces from several Member states especially Italy, France and Malta.
Indeed, from the very earliest days of its involvement in operation Triton the French Navy ship provided assistance to three boats full of migrants.
Less than five days after integrating Triton, the aviso Commandant Birot carried out its first rescue operation. On May 2nd the French Navy vessel assisted three boats in distress north of the Libyan coasts. Altogether, 217 migrants have been taken in by the French sailors, who also took in for questioning two smugglers. Acting under the responsibility of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) in Roma, the Commandant Birot joined the following day the Italian port of Crotone, in Calabria, in order to hand the refugees and smugglers to the local authorities.
As part of the enhancement of Triton’s capacities following the tragic shipwreck last April, the ship immediately proceeded to the Italian port of Brindisi on April 25th where medical and sanitary equipment has been loaded on board to permit the aviso to have at its disposal the equipment required for taking shipwreck victims in.
On April 27th, the ship then went to Triton’s area of operations, which runs from south of Malta to south of mainland Italy. This is where most of migrants’ flows attempting to reach Europe through Libya are concentrated, very close from Maltese and Italian shores. Away from Africa and the Middle-East, where they are fleeing wars, religious conflicts and poverty, more than 21 000 refugees reached Italy since January, taking what has become the deadliest migratory path in the world, reaching more than 1600 victims in four months.