herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

LE Niamh saves 125 more migrants from Mediterranean

The LE Niamh has rescued another 125 migrants in the Mediterranean and was today making its way to port in Sicily.

Another 375 people were transferred to the naval vessel from an Italian ship the Mimbelli last night.

The latest rescue happened off the Libyan coast yesterday when the crew of the LE Niamh was tasked to help with an overloaded inflatable rubber craft reported to be in distress.

A total of 125 people were rescued from the boat – 92 men, 26 women and seven children.

Vessels

The migrants were from sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana, Mali, Ivory Coast and Togo.

This was somewhat different from the more typical migrants who have so far been rescued, who are mainly from Syria and Eritrea.

“Our information is that traffickers charge a higher fee for people to travel on the upper decks of the vessels, and typically the ones who can afford the higher fees are the Syrians and Eritreans and the sub-Saharan Africans tend to be below decks and it is likely the death toll is higher. We tend to see less of them on board,” said Lieutenant Commander Caoimhin Mac Unfraidh from the Naval Service.

Yesterday’s rescue was the 11th operation in which the Irish naval vessel has been involved since it arrived in the Mediterranean last month.

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