Sunday 25 September 2016

More than 500 migrants rescued by LÉ James Joyce

Published 12/09/2016 | 02:30

The LÉ James Joyce has rescued almost 2,500 people since departing the Naval Service headquarters in Cork in July. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
The LÉ James Joyce has rescued almost 2,500 people since departing the Naval Service headquarters in Cork in July. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The Irish Navy rescued more than 500 migrants off the Libyan coast as the total number saved at the weekend surpassed 3,400.

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The Italian coastguard and British Navy were also involved in the massive operation to bring in thousands of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa.

On Saturday alone, the LÉ James Joyce and her crew were part of a mission co-ordinated by Italian Maritime Rescue to save almost 2,000 people at risk in 18 separate boats off the coast of Libya. The refugees were trying to enter Europe.

During a five-hour operation, Irish personnel brought 423 migrants on board before offering them food, water and medical attention.

The ship was back in action yesterday when it successfully located and rescued 108 migrants from a rubber vessel during a search and rescue operation conducted 35 nautical miles north-west of Tripoli.

Read more: Irish naval heroes in line for bravery awards after migrant rescues

The LÉ James Joyce has rescued almost 2,500 people since departing the Naval Service headquarters in Cork in July. Last week, Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe announced that personnel involved in the humanitarian mission in the Mediterranean will receive a new Defence Forces International Operational Service Medal.

Since moves to stop people crossing from Turkey to Greece, Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II is focused on Italy.

Some 115,000 people had arrived there by the end of August, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR. The EU will add €115m in funding to humanitarian organisations in Greece to assist programmes for refugees and migrants before the winter, officials said at the weekend.

Irish Independent

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