Op Irini extended for a further year


The EU maritime intervention to stop arms illegally reaching strife-torn Libya will continue for another year thanks to a UN Security Council authorisation.

The vote at the world body’s most senior component last week extends/prolongs Resolution 2292 of 2016 allowing for offshore inspections and port diversions of vessels suspected of breaching the UN arms embargo on the north African country.

A statement issued by the Operation EUNavFor Med Irini, the code name given to the Mediterranean by the European bloc, has it the resolution covers the operation’s core task showing the will of the international community to prevent arms trafficking to and from Libya as part of “the common effort to bring peace and stability to Libya:.

Since it launched in March 2020,Op Irini investigated 3 344 merchant vessels by way of requesting information via radio calls, carried out 133 ship visits with Masters’ consent (friendly approaches) and conducted 14 boardings and or inspections of suspected vessels.

Friendly approaches were denied 37 times for reasons including COVID-related issues, possible delays and national authority policy. There were also six cases when Irini could not board and inspect suspect vessels due to flag state denial.

Op Irini also monitored 468 suspicious flights, 25 airports including landing strips as well as 16 ports and oil terminals.

Main outcomes of all Irini activities, with support of the EU Satellite Centre (SATCEN), were submitted to relevant UN bodies in 23 special and written reports related to boardings and inspections  – including those denied.

Thanks to Europol co-operation, Irini recommended inspections of suspect vessels in EU member state ports on 26 occasions.