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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
migrant crisis

Pictures: 500 migrants rescued - as LÉ Eithne carries out THREE operations in 24 hours

The third operation is still ongoing. The Defence Forces’ flagship came across a dingy with 100 migrants on board at 9.45am this morning.

Updated at 10.44am

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IRISH NAVAL VESSEL the LÉ Eithne has been involved in its second rescue operation in the space of 24 hours – and is now engaged in a third.

The Defence Forces’ flagship rescued 300 migrants to the north of Libya in the early hours of this morning.

“The migrants were on board a barge that was attempting to cross the South Central Mediterranean. The migrants include men, women and children,” a statement said.

It follows yesterday’s rescue of over 200 migrants, in the same area.

201 migrants, on board a flotilla of five makeshift inflatable vessels, were rescued 60 kilometres to the north of Libya yesterday.

Second operation

Another ‘mayday’ call came in, almost immediately, as a Defence Forces spokesperson explained…

“Having successfully transferred 201 rescuees over to the HMS Bulwark at 9 pm on the 28th of May, for transport to the nearest safe Italian port, the LÉ Eithne immediately received another tasking from the Italian Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

“At 12.10 am (Irish time) the LÉ Eithne encountered a barge 45 kilometres north of Libya.

“They began extraction procedures and by 4am all 300 migrants from the barge were successfully taken on board the LÉ Eithne where they received water, food and medical attention.”

217 of the migrants on board the barge were male, 35 were female and 48 childen. Conditions were calm at the time.

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Video / YouTube

Third operation

Members are still engaged in rescue work this morning, meanwhile.

At 9.45am (Irish time, again) the Eithne came across another rubber dingy carrying around 100 migrants.

“They have begun embarkation and will being taking them aboard shortly.

“The LÉ Eithne will continue to care for all rescuees on board and are awaiting further instruction from the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre.”

501 migrants have been rescued by Irish forces since yesterday morning – with a possible 100 pending.

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The Éithne departed Cork less than two weeks ago to assist in the European effort to tackle the migrant crisis, after a number of large-scale tragedies earlier this year.

The number of migrants from Africa crossing the Mediterranean to get to Europe continues to rise, with more than 80,000 landing so far this year.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that 1,820 have died or gone missing on that journey.

Poll: Do you support rescued Mediterranean migrants being settled in Ireland?

Read: These Irish seamen are setting sail for the Mediterranean today

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