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Ship helps second migrants rescue

Published 29/05/2015

Crew members from Naval Service flagship the LE Eithne helped rescue more than 200 migrants as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean in makeshift inflatables (Irish Defence Forces/PA)
Crew members from Naval Service flagship the LE Eithne helped rescue more than 200 migrants as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean in makeshift inflatables (Irish Defence Forces/PA)

A Navy ship dispatched to the Mediterranean has been involved in a second rescue of endangered migrants in 24 hours.

The LE Eithne, the flagship of the fleet, took about 300 people off a barge 45km north of Libya as they attempted to cross the sea towards Malta and Italy.

The crew were tasked by the Italian Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre and arrived on scene in the early hours of the morning.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney said all the 217 men, 35 women and 48 children on the barge were successfully taken on board the navy ship.

"The continued efforts of the LE Eithne to make a real contribution to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is commendable, this second rescue coming immediately after handing over rescued migrants from yesterday's operation reflects the commitment and professionalism of the ship's crew," he said.

Yesterday the ship's crew were involved in the rescue of 201 migrants, including at least one baby, from makeshift inflatables about 60km north of Libya in a joint humanitarian mission.

They were tasked to the second operation immediately after transferring the first group of migrants to the Royal Navy vessel HMS Bulwark.

The Defence Forces said all the rescued migrants were given water, food and medical attention and sea conditions were calm during the near three hours operation.

Later, at about 9.45am, the LE Eithne discovered another rubber dinghy carrying about 100 migrants. It is expected to take these on board over the next few hours.

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