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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsGreek Officer Assumes Command of EU's Operation 'Irini' Off Libya

Greek Officer Assumes Command of EU’s Operation ‘Irini’ Off Libya

Operation Irini Libya
Commodore Stylianos Dimopoulos assumes command of Operation “Irini.” Credit: Operation Irini

Greek commodore Stylianos Dimopoulos has taken over the command of the EU’s Operation “Irini” deployed off Libya in the Central Mediterranean.

Operation Irini was launched by the European Union on March 31, 2020 as part of the EU contribution to the Berlin process and the return of peace and stability to Libya.

The Force Commander has tactical control of ships, aircraft, and logistic facilities in the area of operations.

The official assumption of command by Dimopoulos was held in a ceremony on board the new flagship HS Aegean, chaired by Operation Commander Rear Admiral Stefano Turchetto.

Dimopoulos replaced Italian Rear Admiral Fabrizio Rutteri. Command of Operation Irini is assigned on a six-monthly rotation between Italy and Greece.

Greek officer Irini Libya
The ceremony was held onboard the new flagship HS Aegean. Credit: Operation Irini

Rear Admiral Tuchetto expressed appreciation and gratitude to Rear Admiral Rutteri for his remarkable results obtained in leading the force at sea and expressed satisfaction in assigning Irini’s Command Authority to Commander Dimopoulos, who previously served as Irini’s Chief of Staff from April to September 2022.

Operation Irini implements the UN arms embargo on Libya

“What we are doing here is an important contribution to the international endeavor in bringing peace and stability in Libya. Be proud of it!” Admiral Turchetto said at the handover ceremony.

“The Mediterranean basin continues to be an area of persistent instability and of confrontation for several local and international players and, at the same time, a strategic area for the international trades,” he added. “Irini has proven, as the only international operating actor, its ability to enable the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya, in an impartial and balanced way in the current complex situation.”

Operation Irini also implements other tasks, including gathering information on illicit oil exports from Libya and on human smuggling activities taking place in the area.

The Operation counts on the active participation of twenty-four member states, providing vessels, aircraft, and personnel. There are currently three Frigates, four aircraft, and almost six hundred people directly assigned to Irini while other naval and air units are deployed in support of the operation on a non-continuous base.

In two and half years of activity, Operation Irini has investigated more than 7,298 ships, and conducted almost 385 visits (so-called Friendly Approaches) onboard merchant vessels, including twenty-four inspections.

In July, Irini inspected a suspected cargo ship at sea, discovering more than one hundred armored vehicles modified for military use. The ship was thus assessed in violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya. They were seized in accordance with UN resolutions.

The operation regularly monitors sixteen Libyan ports and twenty-five airports and landing strips.

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