Op Irini notches up 22 board and search missions


The fragile situation in Libya means Operation Irini, the EU (European Union) tasking enforcing a United Nations (UN) arms embargo on the North African country, is still active with the 22nd boarding and search of a possibly suspicious vessel done this month (March).

The Greek frigate and current flagship for EUNavFor Operation Irini (Greek for “peace”), HS Elli (F450) was tasked for the interception of an unnamed and suspect container ship. Ahead of the actual boarding, ITS Borsini (P491), an Italian Navy patrol vessel, was scrambled and used its helicopter for a first aerial recognition of the suspect vessel.

The following day – at dawn – a 20-strong team boarded the container vessel verified legal documentation and inspected cargo over a period of “several hours” according to an Irini statement. No weapons or military related materiel was found and the vessel was allowed to continue.

“The professionalism, effectiveness and determination shown were essential to properly and safely conduct the Inspection.  The proactive spirit showed proper understanding of the mission and its objectives. Irini’s primary task is Implementation of the UN Security Council arms embargo to stabilise the country (Libya) and support the ceasefire always at risk if factions obtain or have weapons from abroad,” the statement said.

Since becoming operational in March 2020, naval ships detached to Operation Irini have executed more than 250 friendly approaches, over six thousand hailings and now, 22 board and search missions.