VIDEO: Le Eithne returning to Italy with 399 migrants on board
Published 07/06/2015 | 19:56
Almost 400 migrants rescued by the Irish naval service vessel the LE Eithne while attempting to cross the Mediterranean are being brought to Italy.
The Defence Forces has released video footage of some of the 280 men, 78 women and 41 children who will remain on board for a second night until they reach the Taranto Port in Italy at 8am tomorrow morning.
The crew rescued more than 500 people over the weekend, including 110 on Friday.
On Saturday morning the Le Eithne located a barge with approximately 310 people on board approximately 30 miles north of the Libyan city of Zuwarah this morning.
The video shows when the barge - carrying 212 men, 59 women and 39 children - was approached and brought to safety.
Scores of migrants can also be seen on the desk of the vessel clapping.
A Defence Forces spokesperson said at about 5pm on Saturday the another 89 migrants on board two inflatable boats were also located 75kms north of Libya.
That was the crews seventh rescue mission since departing from Cork on May 16th.
Since its deployment to the Mediterranean last month, the LE Eithne crew has saved more than 1,150 people.
Most migrants embark from Libya in unsuitable crafts, often unseaworthy and overcrowded, in a desperate attempt to reach Europe.
Minister for Defence Simon Coveney has praised the naval service for their continued role in assisting with the migrant crisis.
"I would like to thank the crew of the LE Eithne for their outstanding work in the Mediterranean to date and to wish them continued success in their endeavours," said the minister.
He also added that the Naval Service have resumed their operations and "will continue to assist the Italian authorities in tackling this very difficult humanitarian crisis".