A migrant mother who gave birth after being rescued by the Irish Navy off the coast of Libya has named her new baby after the ship that saved her.

The young woman has called her infant daughter ‘Joy’ after the LÉ James Joyce and in tribute to its crew that gave her medical attention on board.

In so doing, she also names her baby after one of the world’s most influential writers, Dubliner James Joyce, author of Ulysses.

The maternity emergency happened during a “busy day of operations” off the coast of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Thursday during which the Irish crew brought 594 refugees to safety.

The operation was called ‘Mare Sicuro’ (Safe Seas) and was the latest humanitarian collaboration between the Irish and Italian naval authorities in the ongoing Mediterranean refugee crisis.

“A young woman went into labour on board (LÉ James Joyce) and was transferred, under medical supervision, to the Italian Navy’s ‘ITS Bettica’,” the Irish Navy told its Facebook followers.

“The admiral in charge of ‘Operation Mare Sicuro’ presented his compliments to Officer Commanding LÉ James Joyce this morning and advised him that the young woman transferred to ITS Bettica (Thursday) had been safely delivered of a healthy baby girl. She has chosen to name her Joy.”

The post was greeted with scores of good wishes including some from relatives of the Irish naval crew.

“A big well done to all crew members of the LÉ James Joyce. All your families are so proud of you. Keep up the good work. 61 days until ye are home to us,” wrote one.

“Flying the flag with pride and compassion,” added another.

The happy baby news contrasts starkly with the reported 87 people who washed up dead on a beach 60km east of Tripoli last week. More than 3,000 migrants are estimated to have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean so far this year.


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