Irish Navy’s offshore patrol vessel LÉ Eithne departed the Haulbowline naval base on May 23, starting her Mediterranean Sea deployment.
Commanded by Commander Brian FitzGerald, the 72 crew of LÉ Eithne will help fight smuggling and prevent loss of life at sea off the Libyan coast.
The operation is dubbed Pontus by the Irish ministry of defense and LÉ Eithne is the first to deploy this year.
The Irish government decided to join EU efforts in the Mediterranean in May 2015, and then too, the Eithne was first to deploy on May 16 2015. Another two Irish vessels – LÉ Niamh and LÉ Samuel Beckett – subsequently deployed to assist the Italian authorities with the migrant crisis.
The Irish Navy said it has contributed to the rescue of 15,621 migrants since joining the operation in May 2015.
The 80-meter-long LÉ Eithne was built in Ireland as a helicopter patrol vessel. She is armed with a Bofors 57mm main canon and two 20mm Rheinmetall canons.