06 Aug 2015 - LÉ NIAMH to disembark rescued migrants.

The LÉ NIAMH with 367 rescued people on board (342 male, 12 female and 13 children) and 25 bodies is sailing to Palermo, Sicily, where it is expected to arrive alongside in 'Banchina del Puntone' at 4 pm today Italian local time.

Yesterday at 8 am Irish time, the LÉ NIAMH was tasked by the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC) to come to the assistance of a fishing vessel 110 kilometres north-west of Tripoli with an estimated 600 persons on board. The LÉ NIAMH arrived on scene at 11.45 am and deployed two rhibs (rigid hull inflatable boats) either side of the vessel as per standard operating procedure, however the vessel capsized. The LÉ NIAMH immediately deployed all available assets including rhibs and life rafts.

In addition to logistical and administrative tasks over the coming hours and days, the LÉ NIAMH will pass all available information on yesterday's incident to the Italian Authorities. Separately, the crew will be offered assistance from a Defence Forces Critical Incident Stress Management Team consisting of 2 trained Naval Service counselors deployed from Ireland. 6 members of the LÉ NIAMH's crew received training in counsel assistance before their deployment.

View high resolution images of the fishing vessel before it capsized and of rescued migrants on board the LÉ NIAMH en route to Palermo

The LÉ NIAMH has rescued 1647 migrants to date.

The LÉ NIAMH deployed to OPERATION PONTUS on Friday 10th of July. The vessel has a crew of 57 personnel, including 2 Army medics and is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wall.

Read more about the LÉ Niamh

The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea will be provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of international conventions governing search and rescue situations.

Press Release Date: Thursday 06 Aug 2015

For Further Information contact:

Press Officer: Comdt. Seán Ó Fátharta

Tel: 045 49 2502 , 045 49 2503

Mobile : 087 2482130

E-mail: Press Officer

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