Irish naval vessel rescues 433 migrants from Mediterranean sea

LÉ James Joyce is assisting Italian authorities with humanitarian operations

A rib from the Irish naval vessel LÉ James Joyce rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean. Photograph: Irish Defence Forces via Flickr

A rib from the Irish naval vessel LÉ James Joyce rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean. Photograph: Irish Defence Forces via Flickr

 

The Irish naval vessel James Joyce has rescued more than 430 migrant

from the Mediterranean since Friday morning.

Following requests from Italian rescue co-ordinators, the crew located and successfully rescued the migrants during operations in the sea to the north west of Tripoli.

The first operation began at 6.20am and rescued about 25 people from a wooden vessel. The vessel was again called on at 7.15am to assist with the rescue of a further 130 people from a rubber vessel in the same area.

The first operation took 35 minutes while the second lasted for over two hours. Another search and rescue has been launched.

In another mission on Friday, a further 278 migrants were rescued from a rubber craft 40 nautical miles from Tripoli.

The LÉ James Joyce was subsequently tasked to rendezvous with the NGO vessel, Luventa, from which a further 163 migrants were transferred. They are being brought to a port where they will be handed over to the Italian authorities.

The LÉ James Joyce is ordinarily based in Naval Service Headquarters in Haulbowline, Cork but has been assisting Italian authorities with humanitarian operations in the Mediterranean since 16th July. It replaced LÉ Róisín which had rescued a total of 1,254 people since May 2016.

Last week the LÉ James Joyce rescued 453 people from the Mediterranean during a single operation in which 16 bodies were also recovered.

In response, Minister for Defence Paul Keogh commended the crew, saying “our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost their lives, the survivors and the rescuers for whom this was a challenging operation.”

That operation on the 21st July brought to 678 the numbers rescued by the crew in over three days. The same day the ship was involved in the transit of a further 152 migrants.

The Irish Naval Service was first deployed to the humanitarian mission in May 2015 and has since provided assistance to more than 10,000 migrants.