Mediterranean-Class ships like Lalo are small freighters often tasked with urgent cargo deliveries inside Federation space. They have a modest complement of only 30 crewmembers, most of which are non-commissioned officers or Ensigns on their first deep space posting. The commanding officer is usually a Lieutenant Commander, as the uneventful and routine assignments provide a good first test of command in relatively safe conditions.
Lalo specifically had an uneventful service for over 17 years, until stardate 43994.8. While on a freight run from Zeta Alpha II to Sentinel Minor IV, it became the first Federation starfleet to encounter the Borg incursion of 2366. The crew was able to sent a partial distress call before the ship was presumably destroyed with all hands.