Suspected Libya arms embargo buster boarded by Op Irini


The EU Naval Force (EU NavFor) tasking in the Mediterranean, Operation Irini, conducted what is believed to be its first inspection of a vessel suspected of violating the UN arms embargo on Libya last Thursday.

The merchant vessel Royal Diamond 7 was boarded and inspected in international waters 150 km north of Derna.

According to a EUNavFor Med statement, the Royal Diamond 7 departed the port of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates heading to Benghazi in Libya.

“MV Royal Diamond 7 was carrying a cargo of jet fuel, likely to be used for military purposes. This fuel is considered ‘military material’ by the UN and UN Security Council resolutions 2292 and 2526 apply.

“The boarding operation was carried out by German frigate FGS Hamburg with the support of Operation Irini flagship, Italian frigate ITS Margottini. Force Commander Admiral Ettore Socci, conducted the operation from the flagship and denied MV Royal Diamond 7 access to Libyan territorial waters. The vessel was diverted to a European Union port for further investigation.

“Irini was operating on information provided by UN Panel of Experts on Libya, which highlighted the suspicious nature of the cargo,” the statement said, adding Operation Irini was a concrete demonstration of EU commitment to support the Berlin process, restore stability in Libya and bring peace to its people.

Since 4 May when the operation started activities at sea, Irini assets have patrolled the central Mediterranean, performing 650 hailings and 12 friendly approaches. The Operation monitored suspect vessels at sea in over ten ports and landing points. It detected 80 suspect flights possibly carrying military related cargos to and from Libya, monitoring 25 airports and landing strips.

Operation Irini contributes to the UN arms embargo and prevention of oil smuggling with 14 special reports to the United Nations Panel of Experts concerning both sides of the conflict in Libya, in an impartial manner. These results were achieved thanks to SatCen (European Union Satellite Centre), which provided more than 230 sets of satellite images on Irini requests.