Saturday 3 December 2016

LÉ Eithne rescues 519 migrants off Libyan coast

David Kearns

Published 22/06/2015 | 14:45

More than 362 migrants were rescued from a wooden barge Credit: Irish Defense Forces
More than 362 migrants were rescued from a wooden barge Credit: Irish Defense Forces

Irish naval vessel LÉ Eithne has rescued 519 migrants in three separate operations northwest of Tripoli.

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The ship was called into action early this morning when an inflatable raft was spotted 50 miles off the Libyan coast.

The vessel dispatched RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) to the craft and started transferring its 104 migrants on board. 

Immediately following the first rescue, the Irish naval vessel was tasked with assisting a further 362 migrants on a wooden barge.

Weather conditions in the area at the time were described as choppy, with a south-easterly 1m-high swell

A third rescue operation was mounted again at 10:16am when LÉ Eithne was called to aid another 53 migrants trapped on a small fibreglass boat.

There are now approximately 519 rescues on board; 401 males, 98 females and 20 minors.

The LÉ Eithne's rescue tally to date now stands at 2,136, and it is currently awaiting direction from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre for its next operation, said a spokesperson for the Irish Defense Forces.

The Irish flagship departed in May to assist the Italian Authorities in the humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

In total, some 2,136 people have been rescued by LÉ Eithne so far Credit: Irish Defense Forces
In total, some 2,136 people have been rescued by LÉ Eithne so far Credit: Irish Defense Forces
LÉ Eithne has been deployed to the Mediterranean for six months Credit: Irish Defense Forces
LÉ Eithne has been deployed to the Mediterranean for six months Credit: Irish Defense Forces

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