Operation IRINI Launches in Mediterranean Sea


The European Union has authorized the launch of the new naval Operation IRINI to implement the UN arms embargo on Libya. The operation replaces Operation SOPHIA, which was launched in 2015.

The headquarters of the operation will remain in Rome and will be under the command of Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini, former commander of Operation SOPHIA.

IRINI’s core task is the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets. Conversely, Operation SOPHIA was born primarily from the need to fight human trafficking in the Mediterranean.

The mission will be able to carry out inspections on vessels off the coast of Libya. Ships that are suspected of carrying arms or related materials to and from Libya will be stopped in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016). IRINI will also monitor the illicit exports of petroleum, crude oil and refined petroleum products from Libya.

In addition, the Libyan Coast Guard will undergo capacity building in law enforcement tasks and human trafficking network disruption under the operation. IRINI represents the first tangible sign of a refocused EU position in response to the crisis in Libya.