Irish naval ship rescues over 100 immigrants off Libyan coast

File photo of the Topaz Responder ship run by a Maltese NGO: Andreas Solaro/AFP

An Irish navy vessel rescued 109 migrants off Libya’s coast on Sunday, following a request from the Italian Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre, BBC reported.

The LÉ William Butler Yeats took four hours to rescue the migrants off Tripoli, before providing food and medical treatment, the BBC added.

The rescued migrants were then transferred to the Italian Coast Guard. It was the new vessel’s first humanitarian search and rescue mission since being deployed on 14 July, the BBC indicated.

On the same day a government motion was passed in the Dáil (Irish parliament) to allow the Irish Defence Forces to join in on Operation Sophia in response to the EU’s ongoing migrant crisis, the BBC explained.

The multilateral EU navy operation was set up in 2015, aimed at targeting vessels to stop gangs from human trafficking, mainly through Libya.

Opposition politicians criticised the move, saying the the change of status had implications for Irish neutrality, according to the BBC.

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