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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 18 July, 2019
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The LÉ James Joyce has rescued another 617 migrants in the Mediterranean

In one case, it successfully located and rescued 165 migrants from wooden and rubber vessels off the coast of Libya.

Image: Defence Forces

Updated 7.45pm

IRELAND’S NAVAL SERVICES have made a number of rescues in the Mediterranean today, saving a total of 617 lives.

Following a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre this morning, the LÉ James Joyce successfully located and rescued 452 migrants from eight separate vessels located 40 nautical miles NW of Tripoli.

The operation commenced at 9.45am, bringing the total number of migrants rescued by LÉ James Joyce today to 617.

LÉ James Joyce was subsequently tasked with transferring a further 140 migrants to the Merchant Vessel ASSROU.

This had followed an earlier request to locate migrants in three separate vessels.

28696264063_96ef4e387d_z Source: Defence Forces via Flickr

During the first operation, 15 migrants were rescued from a small wooden vessel 40 nautical miles north-east of the Libyan capital Tripoli, about around 75 miles, or a third of the way to Malta.

The rescue began at 6.40am and all migrants were taken on board LÉ James Joyce. They are now receiving food, water and medical treatment where required.

The LÉ James Joyce was then re-tasked, to assist with the rescue of a further 150 people from two rubber vessels in the same area.

dscn3002_29310480375_o Source: Defence Forces

This second rescue commenced at 7.50am and all migrants are currently on board the Irish naval ship.

The numbers rescued by Irish naval vessels in the Mediterranean since May 2015 recently passed the 10,000-mark, following the LÉ James Joyce’s rescue of 605 people in July.

The LÉ James Joyce began current operations on 16 July.

dscn2999_29310481135_o Source: Defence Forces

It replaced the LÉ Róisín, which rescued 1,264 people in less than three months, after its deployment on 1 May.

Paul Kehoe, Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach recently said that the deployment of Irish naval vessels to the Mediterranean was central to Ireland’s response to the ongoing migrant crisis.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

Read: Another Irish ship has set off to help save lives in the Mediterranean

Read: Tánaiste agrees to allow an extra 260 refugees resettle in Ireland

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