June 26, 2017 / 7:13 AM / 6 months ago

Irish naval ship rescues 712 people near Libya: defense forces

DUBLIN (Reuters) - An Irish naval ship rescued 712 people including pregnant women and infants off the coast of the Libyan capital of Tripoli as part of an international migrant rescue effort, Ireland’s Defence Forces said on Monday.

The LÉ Eithne ship led the rescue of multiple vessels in distress 40 kilometers north-west of Tripoli throughout Sunday. Six migrants, including one baby, were revived from states of unconsciousness.

The ship will transport the people, including 14 pregnant women and four infants below the age of four months, to a designated “port of safety” to be handed over to Italian authorities.

“I‘m very proud to say all lives were saved, no lives were lost. It was a complex operation where lives were at stake at every turn over a full eight-hour period,” Commander Brian Fitzgerald told national broadcaster RTE from the ship.

“Overall, they were really in a wretched condition but in all cases healthy enough to undertake the journey to a port of safety.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Ed Osmond

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