The EU naval operation is tackling human trafficking and smuggling in the Mediterranean

The Irish Naval service LÉ Samuel Beckett has departed for the Mediterranean to take part in 'Operation Sophia'.

That's the EU naval operation against smugglers and traffickers - which Ireland first joined last October when the LÉ Niamh was deployed for a three month mission.

Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe says the crew will be helping to address some of the root causes of migration and human trafficking.

"As we all know Operation Sophia is both a security and humanitarian mission.

Ireland has been working in the Central Mediteranean for the last number of years and it specifically seeks to counter human trafficking and smuggling in Central Mediterranean.

It's also taking action against the smugglers and disrupting their business that they are carrying out there on a daily basis."