103 boats seized in first year of EU anti-migrant mission

The German government says the European Union's anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean sea has intercepted and destroyed 103 boats in its first year of operation.

In a reply to parliament, the Foreign Ministry said ships that make up the Operation Sophia mission have seized 85 rubber boats and 18 wooden boats, the dpa news agency reported Wednesday. A total of 69 smugglers have also been charged since the operation started in May 2015.

Though the fleet's official mission is to confront smugglers and deter illegal immigration to Europe, in practice the effort has become one of the 28-nation bloc's biggest rescue missions in history, saving more than 10,000 migrants in the past year.