LÉ Róisín begins rescue missions in Mediterranean

Naval vessel left Haulbowline base, Cork at noon

LE Samuel Beckett, refugees, migrants, operations, Mediterranean mission, Cork,

The LE Samuel Beckett | Image: Irish Defence Forces

The LÉ Róisín has begun the Irish Navy's first humanitarian mission of 2016 today.

In the first naval deployment to the Mediterranean, the ship sailed from Cork at 12 noon for a 12-week deployment.

The International Organisation for Migration says 3,700 people died in the Mediterranean last year, which has seen a devastating spike in deaths in the past two years.

Motasum fled the war in Syria and now lives in Ireland.

He wants the Irish Government to take in more migrant children and to help end the conflict in Syria.

"Human aid is not everything, it's important to survive. It's very important for some people who are eating grass.

"But it's also very important to try and stop this war, to try to stop this conflict."

 

The LÉ Eithne vessel will be involved in humanitarian search and rescue missions in conjunction with Italian authorities.

The Naval Service vessel will carry 60 crew under the command of the ship’s captain Lieutenant Commander Ultan Finegan. 

The ship's 57 strong crew have been completing pre-deployment training and preparing it for the operation.

The Irish Defence Forces rescued over 8,000 people during the course of their operations in the Mediterranean in 2015.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry is travelling to Geneva for talks on Syria today.

The US has called for a return to a nationwide ceasefire, excluding Isis  - saying continued airstrikes on the northern city of Aleppo is a clear violation.

Dozens of people - including medics have been killed in the last week - with the Assad Government insisting they're targeting "terrorists".

Mr Kerry is calling on Russia to pressure the Syria Government into stopping the violence.