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L.. Eithne rescues over 500 migrants in Mediterranean

Monday 22nd June 2015


The Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., today welcomed the further rescue by the L.. Eithne of approximately 519 migrants, as part of the coordinated response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

The Minister commented “L.. Eithne under the command of her captain, Commander Pearse O’Donnell, and her crew are continuing to undertake a key role in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The rescue operation today, involving 519 migrants, is yet another example of the worthwhile efforts being undertaken by our Naval Service.

L.E. Eithne was alerted earlier today to three craft in potential distress approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Tripoli.

The Minister confirmed that “L.. Eithne has completed the rescue of 104 personnel from the first craft, 363 from a second vessel and 53 from a third vessel. This brings the total migrants rescued so far to 2,136.”

The Irish Naval Vessel is providing medical assistance, food, water and dry clothes to those in need and will transfer them safely to port in Italy as soon as possible

Separately today the Foreign Affairs Council adopted a Council Decision today to launch a European Union military operation, EUNAVFOR MED as one element of the EU’s comprehensive approach to the Mediterranean crisis. This mission will undertake systematic efforts to identify capture and dispose of vessels and enabling assets, before they are used by traffickers, thereby contributing to disruption of the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean. Phase one of this mission, which focuses on surveillance and assessment of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean, will commence in the coming days. Further phases will be subject to assessment by the European Council, taking into account a UN mandate and the consent of the coastal states concerned.

The Minister concluded that “the work of our Naval Service in the Mediterranean is invaluable. The Naval Service will remain in the Mediterranean undertaking humanitarian search and rescue activity. We do, however, need a comprehensive approach to addressing this ongoing crisis. The Council Decision today to launch an EU mission is just one part of a bigger strategy. The Taoiseach at the EU Heads of State and Government meeting later this week will give further consideration to the broader migration issue”.

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