People-smugglers took advantage of good weather conditions in the Mediterranean Sea yesterday as they herded people on board flimsy dinghies.
They set them afloat in the knowledge that they would either drown on the crossing from Libya to southern Europe, or be rescued by military boats or vessels run by volunteer organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières.
The crew of LÉ Samuel Beckett started rescue operations at 6.15am, roughly 44 miles north-west of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. In the following hours the crew took onboard 652 migrants, following rescues of from five large inflatable dinghies and a small liferaft.
Unfortunately, the crew of the navy ship also retrieved the bodies of three migrants found dead onboard the inflatable craft.
Last night the Naval Service said they had yet to determine how the three people had died.