EU countries recall ships from migrant rescue mission in Mediterranean

European Union officials on Wednesday lamented a move by member states to recall their vessels taking part in an EU naval mission patrolling the Mediterranean Sea for migrants attempting the dangerous crossing from North Africa. The bloc's Operation Sophia has worked to reduce migrant-smuggling, train the Libyan coast guard and enforce an arms embargo on Libya. It has rescued nearly 49,000 people trying to reach Europe in often unseaworthy boats, according to the EU. “Without naval assets, the operation will not be able to effectively implement its mandate”, European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.