LÉ Eithne rescues 600 migrants in 36 hours
More than 600 migrants have been rescued by Ireland's flagship naval vessel the LÉ Eithne in the past 36 hours.
The ship successfully completed two rescue missions on Friday morning, saving 410 migrants in total, and was late last night making its way back to Sicily, where it expects to dock this morning.
Some 300 of the migrants were rescued in the early hours of Friday morning, 45km off the coast of Tripoli, Libya, with men, women and children all attempting to cross the South Central Mediterranean Sea.
The vessel encountered the barge north of Libya at midnight and by 4am yesterday had successfully taken all migrants on board.
The craft proceeded to sail towards a safe port and on their journey encountered a dinghy five hours later, with 110 migrants on board. All migrants were evacuated and transferred safely to the LÉ Eithne. The majority of Friday's rescued migrants are male (325), with 36 women and 49 children also saved.
On Thursday afternoon the same naval service had successfully transferred 201 migrants to British ship HMS Bulwark.
The ship, which left Naval HQ in Haulbowline, Cork on May 16, in order to assist Italian Authorities in rescue operations across the Mediterranean, has been co-operating with French, German and British ships, since it embarked.
The Naval Service is to be deployed in the region for up to six months.