LE Niamh sails to Med to replace patrol ship


Ralph Riegel

DEFENCE Minister Simon Coveney personally wished the crew of the LE Niamh 'good luck' as the Naval Service patrol vessel sailed to relieve the LE Eithne in the Mediterranean.

LE Niamh departed Cork last night to replace the LE Eithne on station off Malta and Sicily in the Mediterranean on refugee rescue duties.

Mr Coveney also confirmed that Ireland will provide a third vessel from September.

The LE Eithne's crew has saved almost 3,500 refugees since May, almost 400 of whom were small children.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella, in Cork to attend the SeaFest conference, paid tribute to the Naval Service.

"I think the whole Mediterranean appreciates Ireland's assistance in this, especially Malta, which was even given a vessel quite separately from the assistance on the migration issue," the Maltese politician said.