Friday 30 September 2016

Irish navy rescues 60 migrants from Mediterranean bringing total to over 10,000 since 2015

Tomás Heneghan

Published 20/07/2016 | 20:47

Taoiseach Enda Kenny inspects a Guard of Honour drawn from the LÉ James Joyce's company before the naming and commissioning ceremony for the Irish naval vessel in Dún Laoghaire Photo: Frank McGrath
Taoiseach Enda Kenny inspects a Guard of Honour drawn from the LÉ James Joyce's company before the naming and commissioning ceremony for the Irish naval vessel in Dún Laoghaire Photo: Frank McGrath

An Irish navy vessel rescued more than 60 more migrants from rubber crafts near Tripoli on Wednesday.

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This brings the total number of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by the Irish Naval Service since May 2015 to over 10,000.

The LÉ James Joyce was deployed to assist in the rescue following a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

The Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe praised the Irish Naval Service for its assistance with the current migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

“I wish to congratulate the Naval Service for the excellent role they have played in saving the lives of so many migrants since Naval Service vessels were first deployed in May 2015. The Government and I are very proud of [their] efforts,” Minister Kehoe said.

He added: “The deployment of Irish Naval vessels to the Mediterranean to engage in humanitarian search and rescue tasks is an important element in Ireland's response to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean.

“The success of these operations demonstrates clearly the value of Ireland’s participation in this important work.

“Unfortunately thousands of people continue to make the very dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.”

He concluded: “The requirement for humanitarian search and rescue operations in this part of the world remains and Ireland will continue to play its part.”

The LÉ James Joyce set out just after 9am on Wednesday morning and the 63 rescued people were then transferred from two rubber crafts to the ship.

The 63 people were then given food and water, as well as receiving any required medical treatment.

They were then transferred to the MV Phoenix, which transported the migrants to a designated port of safety.

The Department of Defence has said 8,592 people were previously rescued by the Irish Naval Service in the Mediterranean from May to November 2015.

It said that since May this year, another Irish ship, the LÉ Róisín had rescued a further 1,264 people.

The LÉ James Joyce replaced the LÉ Róisín earlier this month, with a further 162 people being rescued on Tuesday this week.

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