LE Samuel Beckett crew saves 102 as migrant crisis continues in Med
The LE Samuel Beckett has rescued more than 100 desperate migrants in its latest operation in the Mediterranean.
The Irish Naval Service patrol ship was deployed by the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (IMRCC) to assist an inflatable boat carrying migrants spotted just 50km off the Libyan coast.
The crew rescued 102 people - including two children - from the overcrowded vessel.
Once on-board the Irish ship the migrants were given food, water and medical attention where required.
This is the second rescue for the 59 crew of the LE Samuel Beckett. On October 5 the crew rescued 242 people from a wooden craft 93km off the north-west of Tripoli.
They then collected another 232 people from a different ship and sailed to a port on the coast of Italy.
The ship took over from the LE Niamh at the end of September to assist in Operation Pontus as the humanitarian crisis continues.
The ship operates under the direction of the Italian Coastguard and works from southern Italian and Sicilian ports, as well as Malta.
It is the third Irish Naval Service vessel to be deployed in the area. The crew is commanded by Lt Cmdr Anthony Geraghty and includes medics from the Army and Air Corps.
No decision has been taken on the dispatch of a fourth ship. However, it is hoped it will be unnecessary given the likely impact the winter weather will have on migrants opting to risk a sea crossing.
The LE Samuel Beckett - which is due back in Ireland in December - has rescued 577 migrants altogether, bringing the total rescued by Irish naval ships to almost 8,000.
At least 350,000 migrants crossed the EU's borders from January to August, compared with just 280,000 during the whole of 2014.
Migrants are fleeing from Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq and other countries in the hope of a new life.