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Sunday 21 January 2018

'Destiny is doing well' - LÉ Niamh commander praises medics who delivered baby during migrant rescue

The LE Niamh was en route to Palermo after two operations taking 370 men, women and children off the sea
The LE Niamh was en route to Palermo after two operations taking 370 men, women and children off the sea

David Kearns

The baby girl born on board an Irish naval vessel after her mother was rescued from the Mediterranean is “in good health".

Baby Destiny was born after her mother Grace - originally from Nigeria - went into labour four weeks early while on board LÉ Niamh.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, commander Ken Minehane said the little girl “was doing well” and was now being processed by the Italian authorities. 

“The mother is great and happy with the assistance she got from our medics,” he said.

“[She] and baby were in good health, and are now being treated in Sicily.”

Read More: LÉ Niamh rescues 256 migrants in Mediterranean

There were 370 migrants on board the ship at the time of Destiny’s birth - 256 rescued by LÉ Niamh during a rescue operation on Monday and another 114 rescued from a Médecins Sans Frontiéres vessel deployed in the area yesterday.

She was delivered while the ship was transporting the migrants to Palermo last night at 5:46pm.

“We had seven woman pregnant on board yesterday, all very much in different stages ,” said Commander Minehane.

“They were all treated with care and assisted by our medic teams.

“One of the females on board was assessed and it was established that she was close to delivery.

“The baby was delivered yesterday evening,” he added.

Read More: Rescued woman gives birth to baby girl Destiny on board LE Niamh

Commander Minehane said the mother and daughter would now be processed by the Italian authorities, saying: "The situation yesterday was no different to any other migrant rescue in the area."

Speaking about the challenges facing the 57-strong crew of LÉ Niamh, which has been deployed on July 10 to replace LÉ Eithne's rescue mission, Commander Minehane  said he was impressed with how well they were dealing with the migrant crisis.

“We had a very good hand over from LÉ Eithne's, so the crew here are very well prepared… [but] honestly nothing could have prepared us for the heat on deck.

“When you’re out there dressed in personal protective equipment, which covers you completely, it’s very difficult to handle the heat.

“We’ve got to make sure the crew is always well hydrated and are rotated below constantly.

“But they’re professionals and they’re doing an extremely good job."

Read More: LÉ NIAMH rescues 98 migrants from the Mediterranean sea

The LÉ Niamh departed Ireland on Friday, July 10, with a crew of 57 personnel, including two Army medics.

It replaces LÉ Eithne and her 69-strong crew, who returned to Ireland after an eight week mission in which it saved almost 3,400 refugees.

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