Tuesday 14 August 2018

Irish vessel targets traffickers in the Med

Credit: Defence Forces
Credit: Defence Forces

Ryan Nugent

Naval vessel LÉ Samuel Beckett has departed Cork for the Mediterranean where its mission is to identify, capture and dispose of vessels used by migrant smugglers or traffickers.

A total of 54 members of the Defence Forces were deployed as part of an EU-wide mission called Operation Sophia.

The mission is part of an EU-wide effort to disrupt the business model of the human smuggling and trafficking industry in the southern central Mediterranean and prevent further loss of life at sea.

Deployed

The crew bid farewell to loved ones from the Haulbowline Naval Base in Cork at 11am yesterday.

This is the second Irish naval vessel to be deployed in recent months as part of Operation Sophia.

The LÉ Niamh was deployed late in 2017.

Work as part of the mission will include boarding vessels suspected of activity such as smuggling and trafficking and then searching and potentially seizing them.

In July last year, the mission was extended by the EU Security Committee until December of this year.

The mission first began in 2015.

Irish Independent

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