Irish naval crew save 617 migrants making dangerous trip across Med
The Irish navy helped rescue an incredible 617 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea yesterday.
The LÉ James Joyce first assisted in an operation involving 165 migrants aboard three separate vessels during search and rescue missions yesterday morning.
It came following a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre.
During the first operation, 15 migrants were rescued from a wooden vessel, which was floating 40 nautical miles off Tripoli, Italy.
The migrants were taken on board the LÉ James Joyce and received food, water and medical treatment.
The Irish boat was then called upon to assist with the rescue of a further 150 people from two rubber vessels.
Then the crew of the ship successfully located and rescued a further 452 migrants from eight separate vessels, bringing the total number of migrants rescued by LÉ James Joyce yesterday to 617.
The ship departed Naval Service Headquarters in Haulbowline, Cork to assist the Italian Authorities with search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean on July 8 and has rescued 1,111 people to date.
In the period May to November 2015, a total of 8,592 people were rescued by Irish Naval vessels.
More than 100,000 refugees have now reached Italy after crossing the Mediterranean in the past year, most departing from Libya.
Yesterday's rescue highlighted the dangerous tactics used by smugglers, who charge large sums for space on a boat they know will be unlikely to make the journey. The passengers then face the prospect of either being picked up by rescuers, or drowning.