Irish sailors on board LÉ WB Yeats heading to Mediterranean on migrant mission

Irish sailors on board LÉ WB Yeats heading to Mediterranean on migrant mission
File photo of LÉ WB Yeats. Pic: Larry Cummins

Irish sailors are heading to the Mediterranean this morning on the latest migrant rescue mission.

It comes a day after the Dáil approved Ireland's participation in an EU operation to clamp down on human trafficking.

Today's deployment of the LÉ WB Yeats does not come under Operation Sophia and is solely to save lives.

The Government passed a motion last night by 81 votes to 38 to use the Irish Defence Forces involved in Operation Sophia.

Naval ships in Operation Sophia will be used to stop gangs using vessels for human trafficking and it needs the Government to activate the so-called "triple lock" in order to change the status of the Irish Navy operating in the Mediterranean.

Lieutenant Commander Eric Tymon says it will be tough but they are prepared.

He said: "What we are looking for is what we call PIDs, or platforms in distress. These could take the form of RIBs in which you could have up to 100 migrants or up to wooden vessels where there could be several hundred migrants on board.

"Obvioulsy it's a very complex operation getting these people on board safely on to our ship and onward to a port of safety in Italy."


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