Irish Navy rescues 647 in Mediterranean Sea • Italy rescues 4,400

Women and children among hundreds saved from the Mediterranean Sea

The Irish Navy has rescued 647 people crossing the Mediterranean.

In two separate operations about 50 miles north-west off the Libyan capital Tripoli, men, women and children were taken off two wooden barges.

The crew of the LE Eithne took part in the first search and rescue after transferring a group of 593 migrants to HMS Bulwark.

The first rescue started at about 8am Irish time when 330 people were safely taken from a barge and immediately afterwards the crew was tasked to assist with another rescue of 317 migrants on another barge.

The migrants included 544 men, 95 women and eight children, the Irish Navy said.

Meanwhile, the Italian Coast Guard also said on Monday that they have organised the rescue of 4,400 illegal immigrants from 29 boats off the Libyan coast over the last two days.

On Sunday, the Coast Guard rescued 21 boats carrying illegal immigrants and saved 1,500 migrants. A further 2,900 were rescued from 8 boats on Monday.