Video & Pictures: LÉ Samuel Beckett embarks on Operation Sophia

Video & Pictures: LÉ Samuel Beckett embarks on Operation Sophia

A/B Brendan Scully, of the LÉ Samuel Beckett, which left the Naval Base at Haulbowline, on deployment to Operaton Sophia in the Mediterranean, with Edward and Majella, Carrigaline, prior to the ship’s departure. Picture: Denis Minihane

Families of crew members on the LÉ Samuel Beckett bade farewell to their loved ones as the vessel embarked on a new mission on the Mediterranean.

Commanded by Lieutenant Commander Eoin Smyth, a total of 54 members of the Defence Forces have been preparing the ship for an extended deployment since receiving notice that they would be sailing to assist with the EU mission, Operation Sophia.

The operation is an attempt to tackle the smuggling of migrants by traffickers by capturing and disposing of their vessels and assets in the Southern Central Mediterranean.

The operation is at Phase 2, as set out by EU Ambassadors within the EU's Security Committee, and will involve boarding, searching, seizing and diverting vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking.

Family members waving as the LÉ Samuel Beckett left the Naval Base, Haulbowline on deployment with the EUNAV FOR Mission Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Family members waving as the LÉ Samuel Beckett left the Naval Base, Haulbowline on deployment with the EUNAV FOR Mission Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The operation's mandate has been extended to December 31 after originally being launched in October 2015.

The LÉ Samuel Beckett, launched in 2013, was first deployed to the Mediterranean in late 2015 to assist in the response to the European migrant crisis. The ship was involved in rescuing more than 1,000 migrants.

PO Eoghan Leahy, Turner's Cross, Cork, on the LÉ Samuel Beckett which left the Naval Base, Haulbowline, waving to his daughter Keeva and his mother Rhoma prior to the ship's departure. Picture: Denis Minihane.
PO Eoghan Leahy, Turner's Cross, Cork, on the LÉ Samuel Beckett which left the Naval Base, Haulbowline, waving to his daughter Keeva and his mother Rhoma prior to the ship's departure. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Crew from the ship helped to rescue 111 people in a United Nations operation off the coast of Lybia in one incident.

Defence Forces Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett was on hand to see the ship and its crew off on its latest mission.

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