LE Róisín to start new humanitarian mission in Mediterranean

LE Róisín to start new humanitarian mission in Mediterranean

The Irish Navy is to begin another humanitarian mission to the Mediterranean over the weekend.

The LE Róisín is to carry out search and rescue operations in conjunction with the Italian authorities.

It will have 57 crew on board, including two medics.

This is the first Irish Naval deployment to the Mediterranean this year - last year they helped rescue more than 8,500, many fleeing violence in Syria.

Lieutenant-commander Caoimhin Mac Unfraidh said the ship would depart from the naval base in Haulbowline in Cork on Sunday.

The normal complement for the ship for routine off-shore patrols is 44 but additional personnel, such as diving teams and medics, will be dispatched on the LE Róisín mission.

All crew members are volunteers and will be on the mission for about 12 weeks.

It is possible three Irish Navy ships will be deployed in rotation during the summer, the busiest period for migrants to attempt the crossing.

People smugglers continue almost year-round to launch their flimsy craft from the Libyan shore en route to Italy, Sicily, and Malta.

Last year, the navy deployed its flagship LÉ Eithne along with LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett on the mission which unfortunately also involved recovering bodies of those who had drowned or suffocated in grossly overcrowded boats.

“A few of those who travelled out to the Mediterranean last year will be among the crew of LÉ Róisín,” a spokesman said.

With additional reporting by Sean O'Riordan, Irish Examiner

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