LE Niamh rescues over 360 migrants in Mediterranean

Naval Service patrol ship has taken over humanitarian duties from LE Eithne

The Naval Service patrol ship LÉ Niamh has rescued over 360 migrants from the Mediterranean in its first two missions since taking up station in the area.

A total of 265 people were assisted on board the ship from a wooden barge 90 km north-east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Monday evening.

Eight of the 265 were children, while there were 235 men and 13 women, according to provisional figures. They have all been transferred to the Italian naval ship Sirio.

This follows the ship’s first rescue mission in the Mediterranean on Sunday, when 98 migrants were taken on board from a rubber craft about 76 nautical miles north-west of Tripoli.


Some 78 of these were men, while there were 18 women and two children. They were also transferred to the Italian naval vessel.

The Irish patrol ship under the command of Lieut-Cdr Daniel Wall left Cork harbour on July 10th for the Mediterranean, taking over from the LÉ Eithne which rescued almost 3,400 people during its six weeks of duty.

Those rescued were of 21 nationalities, ranging from Eritrean, Nigerian, Sudanese and Syrian to people from Pakistan, Senegal, Egypt and Bangladesh.

They were among an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people who have embarked in unseaworthy and overcrowded craft from the Libyan coast so far this year.

The Government took the decision to offer assistance to the Italian government after more than 850 people lost their lives in one incident last April 27km off the Libyan coast.

Last week, the Government indicated that it would accept up to 600 extra migrants under the EU's scheme to resettle some 44,000 who have made the crossing from Libya to Italy and Greece.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times