Sunday 4 December 2016

Irish navy rescues almost 400 migrants off Libyan coast

David Kearns

Published 06/06/2015 | 17:13

Migrants rescued by the Irish navy on the Le Eithne off the Libyan coast. Credit: Defence Forces
Migrants rescued by the Irish navy on the Le Eithne off the Libyan coast. Credit: Defence Forces

Almost 400 migrants have been rescued by the Irish navy during two separate operations off Libya.

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The crew on board the Le Eithne - who rescued 110 people yesterday - located a barge with approximately 310 people on board approximately 30 miles north of the Libyan city of Zuwarah this morning.

A total of 212 men were on board, along with 59 women and 39 children.

A Defence Forces spokesperson said at 5pm the Le Eithne rescued more migrants on board two inflatable boats 75kms north of Libya,

Some 89 people were on board.

"Conditions at the time were good with the operation commencing at 5pm, completed by 6.50 pm," he added.

The Irish navy LÉ EITHNE located and rescued a barge with approximately 310 migrants on board, 40km north of Libya. Pic: Defence Forces
The Irish navy LÉ EITHNE located and rescued a barge with approximately 310 migrants on board, 40km north of Libya. Pic: Defence Forces
The Irish navy LÉ EITHNE located and rescued a barge with approximately 310 migrants on board, 40km north of Libya. Pic: Defence Forces
The Irish navy LÉ EITHNE located and rescued a barge with approximately 310 migrants on board, 40km north of Libya. Pic: Defence Forces

This is the crew's seventh rescue mission since departing from Cork on 16 May.

There are now 399 rescuees on board, 280 men, 78 women and 41 children on board.

They remained on board overnight are were being transferred to Taranto Port, Italy, where the LE Eithne is expected to arrive at 8am (Local) on June 8th.

Earlier, a search for the barge was initiated after the co-ordiantion centre received a distressed call from the vessel.

"Weather conditions at the time were difficult, with dense fog hampering the operation," said a Defence Forces spokesperson.

Since its deployment to the Mediterranean last month, the LE Eithne crew has saved more than 1,150 people.

Yesterday, it rescued more 100 people on a small craft and transferred them overnight to an Italian ship.

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