Irish Naval Service ship bound for Mediterranean on mission

Final preparations are being made to send an Irish Naval Service ship on an overseas operation for the first time since 2018, with the 58-strong crew set to patrol the coast off Libya to prevent weapons being smuggled into the war-torn country.

The LÉ William Butler Yeats will depart for the mission on Thursday and take about a week to get to its area of operations.

The crew, which includes five women, will not return home until July 30.

This time the mission, known as Operation Irini, is designed to enforce a UN embargo on arms shipments into Libya and exports of oil from there, the money from which could be used to arm the warring factions fighting for control of the North African country.

Final preparations as LÉ William Butler Yeats to join EU operation in Mediterranean

"Once we get down to the Mediterranean, our taskings will be to survey and gather intelligence on merchant traffic flowing into and out of Libya.

"It's a multinational operation involving navies from around western Europe. There's plenty of other vessels and aircraft working alongside us," he said, adding that the crew have stop and board powers if required.