Wednesday 17 July 2019

LÉ Niamh rescues 256 migrants in Mediterranean

Crew members of the LÉ Niamh rescue migrants in the Mediterranean
Crew members of the LÉ Niamh rescue migrants in the Mediterranean

Mark O'Regan

The Irish naval vessel, the LÉ Niamh, rescued 256 migrants from a wooden barge during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean.

The migrants - 235 men, 13 women, and eight children - were brought to safety off the coast of Tripoli, a spokesperson for the Defences Forces said.

This follows the ship's first rescue mission in the Mediterranean on Sunday, when 98 migrants were taken on board from a rubber craft, about 76 nautical miles north-west of Tripoli.

Some 78 of these were men, with 18 women, and two children on board.

The ship has rescued over 360 migrants from the Mediterranean in its first two missions since taking up station in the area.

It is currently on stand-by for further operations, and is awaiting direction from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre.

The LÉ Niamh left Ireland for the Mediterranean on July 10, with a crew of 57 personnel, including two Army medics, and is commanded by Lieutenant Commander, Danial Wall.

The naval service patrol ship has taken over humanitarian duties from LE Eithne, and her 69-strong crew, who returned to Ireland last week, after a six week mission. It was involved in over 22 operations, and brought to shore 3,376 people who were on board unseaworthy and overcrowded craft. Those rescued represented 21 nationalities, ranging from Eritrean, Nigerian, Sudanese and Syrian, to natives of Pakistan, Senegal, Egypt and Bangladesh.

Irish Independent

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