Migrant mission draws MEP’s praise

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Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has paid tribute to the crew of the Irish naval vessel, LÉ Niamh, for their work in saving the lives of migrants in the Mediterranean.

Ms Anderson said: “The scale of the growing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is distressing and shocking with hundreds losing their lives every week.

“Just this week the Irish Naval vessel, LÉ Niamh, rescued more than 125 migrants who had made the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

“This brings to more than 1,600 the number of lives the crew of the LÉ Niamh have saved since they were deployed to the region.

“I pay tribute to the crew of the LÉ Niamh for their vital lifesaving efforts which prevented further tragedies.

“The international community, and the European Union in particular, have a responsibility to help prevent further deaths in the Mediterranean.

“European border policies should be informed by the need to save lives and humanitarian concerns.

“The life-saving work of rescuers like those of the LÉ Niamh highlights the need for urgent action from Europe.”

The Royal Navy has also been busy in the Mediterranean as a consequence of the ongoing migrant crisis.

The Royal Navy flagship HMS Bulwark saved the lives of 5,000 people before being replaced by HMS Enterprise.

The Ministry of Defence said: “HMS Bulwark played a vital role in the Mediterranean, saving around 5,000 lives, but we’ve been clear that to tackle the migrant crisis we need to address the problem at source, going after the gangs, smugglers and boat owners who are making money out of this trade in misery.

“We continue to play a full role in the mission with the survey ship, HMS Enterprise, our Royal Navy Merlin helicopter as well as headquarters staff who are helping to coordinate the wider international response.”