Libya receives Italian patrol boat


Italy has delivered a 27 metre patrol boat to the Libyan Coast Guard to strengthen its border patrol and illegal trafficking capabilities.

The Italian Embassy in Libya said the vessel was delivered to Tripoli’s naval base on 21 October. This was a Corrubia-class patrol boat as used by the Guardia di Finanza. It (658) is now called Fezzan after the southwestern region of Libya. A second Corrubia class vessel is expected in a month’s time.

Some two dozen Corrubia class vessels were built for Italy. They are manufactured from composite materials, have a length of 27 metres, width of 7 metres and displacement of 94 tons. Top speed is 80 km/h and range 700 miles. Standard weapons fit is a 30 mm cannon and three 12.7/7.62 mm machineguns, but the vessel delivered to Libya has not yet had armament fitted. A small rigid-hulled inflatable boat can be launched from the stern.

In August, Italy’s parliament approved the donation of 12 patrol vessels to Libya to enhance its Coast Guard in dealing with the migrant crisis. The donation includes ten refurbished ex-Italian Coast Guard (Guardia Costiera) 500-class patrol boats and two Corrubia-class patrol boats decommissioned from the Italian Customs Police (Guardia di Finanza) fleet. The vessels will be operated by the Libyan Coast Guard and the Ministry of Interior.

Approval was given on 6 August by the lower house of parliament, with 382 lawmakers voting for and 11 against the move.

The boats will help Libya stem the flow of illegal immigrants to Europe. The donation will also enable Libyan forces to secure their own coastline without the help of EU naval forces.

The Italian government will also take responsibility for the maintenance of the 12 boats until the end of the year and offer training to the Libyan coastguard and naval authorities, IANS/AKI reported. Another 17 boats will follow.

Italian transport minister Danilo Toninelli said the aid package is worth 2.5 million euros and includes the 12 boats and funds for the training of Libyan sailors.