Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe TD, confirmed that L.É. James Joyce, under the command of her captain, Lieutenant Commander Neil Manning, will depart the Naval Base, Haulbowline this morning (8 July) , to assist the Italian authorities in the continuing search and rescue humanitarian operation in the Mediterranean.
L.É. James Joyce will replace L.É. Róisín which has spent the past ten weeks in the Mediterranean and is scheduled to return to Ireland next week. A total of 1,264 people have been rescued by L.É. Róisín during her deployment to the Mediterranean. Tragically, 3 bodies were also recovered by L.É. Róisín during her deployment.
In 2015 three Irish Naval Vessels, L.É. Eithne, L.É. Niamh and L.É. Samuel Beckett were deployed to the Mediterranean to assist the Italian Authorities with the migrant crisis. During that period 8,592 people were rescued in the Mediterranean by Irish Naval Vessels.
Minister Kehoe said “The humanitarian crisis continues to be of great concern to the Irish people, and the assistance provided by the deployment of these crews represents a tangible national contribution to humanitarian operations in the Mediterranean. To date, Irish participation has resulted in the recovery of nearly 10,000 migrants, clearly demonstrating the value of Ireland’s involvement in this important humanitarian response.”
L.É. James Joyce will be dispatched with a crew of 59 members of the Permanent Defence Force including 3 medics. The Minister went on to say “L.É. James Joyce is expected to be deployed in the Mediterranean until September, dependant on the operational demands and requirements arising.”
The role of the Irish Naval vessel is to provide a search and rescue capability and to undertake humanitarian search and rescue operations at sea in the Mediterranean. Assistance to persons in distress at sea is being provided in accordance with the applicable provisions of international conventions governing search and rescue situations. Co-ordination of search and rescue efforts and the provision of humanitarian assistance are being achieved through close co-operation with the relevant Italian authorities.
The Minister concluded “I want to wish Lieutenant Commander Niall Manning and the crew of L.É. James Joyce a safe and successful mission. You are travelling to the Mediterranean with my best wishes and with those of the rest of the nation.”