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Sunday 22 October 2017

Third naval vessel earmarked for Mediterranean

The LE Niamh has rescued hundreds of migrants
The LE Niamh has rescued hundreds of migrants
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Ireland will send a third Naval Service ship to assist the Mediterranean migrant rescue mission within weeks.

However, the Government is hoping that the dispatch of a fourth vessel will not be necessary, given the predicted deterioration in Mediterranean weather over the autumn, which will dramatically reduce the activity of people smugglers.

Either the LE Róisín or LE Samuel Beckett is expected to be dispatched from Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork within weeks to replace the LE Niamh off the north African coast.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney said the crews of LE Niamh and LA Eithne had performed heroics there, rescuing more than 5,000 people, including 367 migrants whose vessel capsized last week.

"These ships and their crews have undertaken difficult and demanding missions with incredible professionalism and skill," he said. "But that is precisely what we have come to expect from our Naval Service."

Counselling is being provided for LE Niamh's crew by two medical support and chaplaincy staff. Counselling will also be offered when the mission ends to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.

Irish Independent

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