The three Irish naval vessels deployed to the Mediterranean this year rescued 8,631 people as part of Operation Pontus.

39 bodies were also recovered by the Irish crews during the operation, which provided search and rescue assistance to the Italian Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre.

The Naval Service, on behalf of the Defence Forces, received the People of the Year Award for their work in the Mediterranean.

Closer to home, the Naval Service completed 1,076 boardings and made ten detentions for alleged infringements of fishing regulations.

The Specialist Naval Service Dive Team was deployed to 43 operations so far this year, including as part of nine separate search and rescue operations.

These were undertaken following requests from the coastguard and gardaí, leading to the recovery of the remains of six individuals.