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Irish Navy flagship Le Eithne rescues 201 migrants in the Mediterranean

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Mission: 201 stranded migrants including women and children were rescued
Mission: 201 stranded migrants including women and children were rescued

The Irish Naval flagship Le Eithne has rescued over 200 stranded migrants in the Mediterranean in its first mission since sailing last week.

The ship conducted a successful rescue operation of 201 migrants 60 kilometres north of Libya this morning in co-operation with with Italian, German and British ships. The rescue operation is still ongoing. 
 
The migrants were part of a flotilla of five make shift inflatable vessels that were attempting to cross the South Central Mediterranean. The migrants include men, women, children and one infant.
 
 
At 8 am Irish time the Le Eithne received notification from the Italian Marine Rescue Coordination Centre and the Italian Task Force Commander of five inflatable crafts crossing the Mediterranean.
 
It was deployed immediately to assist the rescue mission and arrived on scene at 10am. The sea conditions during the rescue were calm.
 
The crew of the Le Eithne came to the migrants' assistance and gave them food, water and first aide at the scene. Authorities said the rescuees will be transferred to the HMS Bulwark where they will in turn be transported to a port of safety in Italy.
 
This is the first rescue by the crew of the Le Eithne since being tasked by Government to deploy to assist with the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.
 
It departed on May 16 from Naval Service Headquarters in Haulbowline, Cork to assist the Italian Authorities in the humanitarian search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

The role of the Irish Naval vessel will be to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean.
 
Assistance to persons in distress at sea will be provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of international conventions governing search and rescue situations.
 
The Naval Service vessel will be deployed in the Mediterranean for a period of up to six months over the summer period, subject to the operational demands and requirements arising in the theatre of operations.