LÉ James Joyce recovers five bodies during Mediterranean mission

Irish naval vessel rescues 265 people in humanitarian operation off Libya coast

An image released by the Defence Forces showing a search-and-rescue operation by the LÉ James Joyce in the Mediterranean.

An image released by the Defence Forces showing a search-and-rescue operation by the LÉ James Joyce in the Mediterranean.

 

An Irish naval vessel has recovered five bodies, including that of a heavily pregnant woman, while carrying out a search-and-rescue mission off the coast of Libya.

The vessel, the LÉ James Joyce, rescued 265 people on Wednesday, subject to confirmation of the numbers by Italian authorities, who are directing humanitarian operations in the region in response to the migrant crisis.

The people were rescued 32 nautical miles northwest of Tripoli following a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, the Defence Forces said.

“Tragically, during the course of the operation, five people were declared dead, including one heavily pregnant woman,” a spokesman said.

“At 9.20am LÉ James Joyce initially rescued the 106 migrants on board the first vessel before moving to a second vessel which contained 164 migrants, including several people that were in need of urgent medical attention.”

The spokesman said those people in need of medical attention were immediately taken to the LÉ James Joyce for treatment by both Defence Forces medical personnel and the Red Cross.

“Sadly, one male and four female migrants, one of whom was heavily pregnant, were pronounced dead.”

The other migrants are now on board the ship, where they are receiving food, water and medical treatment where required.

All those rescued will be transferred, along with the deceased, to the Italian Navy ITS Bersagliere, which will then transfer them to a designated port of safety.

Rescues

Last Saturday, the LÉ James Joyce rescued 423 migrants from 18 separate vessels during a search-and-rescue operation.

The vessel departed Naval Service headquarters in Haulbowline, Cork, to assist the Italian authorities with operations in the Mediterranean on July 8th.

The LÉ James Joyce is the fifth ship deployed by the Irish Naval Service to the Mediterranean as part of Operation Pontus, which covers humanitarian missions in the region.

It has rescued almost 2,000 people to date .