Saturday 10 December 2016

Irish navy mission in Mediterranean extend as the LE Samuel Beckett prepares to deploy

Sasha Brady

Published 02/09/2015 | 17:37

So far, Irish crews have saved more than 6,000 migrants adrift at sea Credit: Irish Defense Forces
So far, Irish crews have saved more than 6,000 migrants adrift at sea Credit: Irish Defense Forces

The LÉ Samuel Becket will replace the LÉ Niamh in the Mediterranean at the end of September, the government has confirmed.

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The Irish Naval Service will extend its presence in the Mediterranean, assisting Italian authorities in humanitarian search and rescue operations.

Defence minister Simon Coveney confirmed today: “The success of the operations carried out to date by LE Eithne and LE Niamh involving recovering over 6,000 migrants demonstrates clearly the value of Ireland’s participation in this important humanitarian response.”

"I believe that we should continue to support Italy in a practical manner as far as possible and the Italian authorities have indicated that ongoing support is welcome,"

The LE Samuel Beckett will take over operations in the Mediterranean from the end of September, replacing the LE Niamh, and will deploy until the end of November - depending on operational demands.

This is the third vessel the Irish government has sent to partake in operations in the Mediterranean, with the LE Eithne having been initially involved back in June.

It comes as the United Nations Special Representative for International Migration, Peter Sutherland, has said Ireland needs to take more refugees.

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