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Migrant rescue operation involving L.É. Niamh currently underway in Mediterranean

Wednesday 5th August 2015



The Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., has confirmed that LÉ Niamh is currently involved in a very difficult rescue operation in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast.

The Minister confirmed that “At 8 am Irish time, the LÉ Niamh was tasked by the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC) to come to the assistance of a fishing vessel north-west of Tripoli, which was in distress with an estimated 600 persons on board. The LE Niamh, along Italian Naval vessels, the Medicins Sans Frontiére vessel “DIGNITY”, and a number of helicopters are currently engaged in the rescue operation. All assets including RHIBS (rigid hull inflatable boats) and life rafts have been deployed in support of the emergency operation.

The Minister went on to say “As the operation is currently ongoing, with all personnel fully engaged in the rescue, it is difficult to ascertain full details on the scale of the incident. However I understand that the fishing vessel capsized and that the loss of life is likely to be significant. The crew of the Niamh are working flat out with their counterparts to rescue as many as possible. Latest reports from LÉ NIAMH are that 165 people have been rescued. Tragically seventeen bodies have also been recovered. That number is likely to rise in the coming hours”.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost their lives, the survivors and the rescuers for whom this is an extremely difficult operation”, the Minister concluded.

ENDS




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