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Irish nurse helps deliver baby named 'Miracle' on Mediterranean rescue ship

Aoife Ní Mhurchu from Cork, who works on the MV Aquarius, assisted with the baby boy's delivery on Saturday. Picture by Guglielmo Mangiapane/SOS Méditerranée

AN Irish nurse has helped to deliver a baby boy onboard a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean sea.

The baby, named Miracle, was born in international waters just days after his mother was rescued from a rubber boat off the coast of Libya.

The new mother was picked up by Italian navy vessel and transferred to the MV Aquarius ship run by the international medical humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and SOS Méditerranée.

Aoife Ní Mhurchu from Cork, who works on the MV Aquarius, assisted with the baby boy's delivery on Saturday.

She said the new mother was one of 51 men and 18 women, five of whom were pregnant, who were rescued last week, all attempting to reach Europe in search of a better life.

The baby's mother told the MSF team she had left Nigeria and spent one year in Libya where she says she was held captive, beaten, given very little food and extorted for money for release.

She said she escaped with her partner and hundreds of others earlier this year and had been hiding in a friend's house in Libya, before undertaking the dangerous sea crossing.

Ms Ní Mhurchu said: "The situation in Libya is extremely dangerous for refugees and migrants, with very little access to medical care.

"If she had gone into labour just 48 hours beforehand she would have given birth hiding on a beach in Libya, without any medical assistance.

"She told me their boat actually departed on Wednesday but after a few short minutes the engine failed and they were returned to shore.

"The smugglers demanded they hide on the beach, then disappeared and didn’t return for 24 hours. At this point she was left terrified, heavily pregnant, and without food or water."

MSF midwife Amoin Soulemane, who delivered the baby, said: "For a first time delivery the baby came very quickly.

"The labour pain started early in the morning, but within just a few hours of active labour the baby was born.

"Both the mother and baby are doing very well."

The mother and baby - the 36th tot to be born onboard one of the ships that patrol the Mediterranean - were taken to hospital after arriving in Sicily on Sunday.

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