Officials of a brand-new multinational naval task force, designated as “Operation Irini,” welcomed Greece’s contribution to the force on Thursday in the form of the Hellenic Navy’s Hydra-Class Frigate Spetsai.
Through Operation Irini (the Greek term for “peace”) the European Union seeks to enforce the United Nations arms embargo on Libya with frequent patrols in the Mediterranean.
Commenting on the joint military patrols, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and President of the Council, said the patrols will work to enforce the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime resources.
The mission is tasked with carrying out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya which are suspected to be carrying arms or other materiel to and from the troubled country, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2292, passed in 2016.
Greece’s contribution to the task force, the vessel Spetsai, is a MEKO200HN class frigate and has on board a boarding team which has been trained to conduct Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), along with a Sikorsky S-70B Aegean Hawk helicopter.
The vessel will patrol the central Mediterranean Sea, together with three aircraft deployed by the nations of Germany, Luxembourg and Poland.
More than twenty EU countries have joined Operation Irini, contributing both staff and military equipment, ships, and an array of aircraft. Operation Irini, whose mission the EU authorized on March 31, 2020, also counts on the support of satellite images provided by the European Union Satellite Center.
“I thank Greece and the other EU countries that have contributed to the operation with staff and assets. Even though the mission started recently, it has already produced results, in the collection of information on arms trafficking shared with the UN panel of experts, and in a deterrent effect on oil smuggling too,” stated Irini Commander Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini.