17 June 2017
By Tom Collins
Defence Minister Paul Kehoe, T.D., has confirmed that L.É. Eithne was involved in a rescue operation Friday in the Mediterranean.
The Minister stated that “the Government approved the return of the Naval Service to the Mediterranean to assist the Italian authorities in tackling this very difficult humanitarian crisis.”
The Minister confirmed that “L.É. Eithne was tasked by the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC) to come to the assistance of vessels in distress and have so far rescued persons from 3 vessels”.
The Minister, on Friday, went on to say that “The operation is currently ongoing. Latest reports from L.É. Eithne are that they have rescued 346 people and 85 persons have been transferred onto L.É. Eithne from another rescue vessel. Currently there are approximately 431 persons on board L.É. Eithne, which is currently tasked to come to the assistance of further two vessels in distress. I would like to thank the crew of L.É. Eithne, under the command of her captain, Lieutenant Commander Brian Fitzgerald, for their outstanding work in the Mediterranean today and to wish them well in their ongoing and difficult work on this current operation.”
Irish participation in the humanitarian mission in 2015 and 2016 resulted in the rescue of over 15,600 migrants, which clearly demonstrates the value of Ireland’s involvement in this important humanitarian response.
L.É. Eithne will remain in the Mediterranean until mid July at which point she will be replaced by another Naval Service vessel.