IRINI Intercepts Suspicious Vessel Off Libyan Coast


Operation IRINI intercepted a suspicious merchant ship off the Libyan coast. This occurred during the first operation after Rear Admiral Stefano Torquetto assumed command, at the end of last September.

The Italian Nova agency, which reported the news, stated that the five-hour operation included verifying the ship’s documents and inspecting several containers suspected of carrying illegal materials.

It indicated that the inspection process did not reveal anything suspicious on board the ship. The ship was allowed to resume her journey towards her destination.

In a statement, IRINI stated said that, “after two days in rough sea and strong winds, although the sea state conditions were still marginal, HS NAVARINON Boarding Team was inserted by helicopter and inspected a Merchant Vessel suspected of violating the United Nations (UN) Arms Embargo on Libya.”

It added that, “a Special Forces Team once secured the area, verified the ship’s documentation and inspected, according to the UN Resolution 2292, several containers suspected to be loaded with unlawful material. Nothing suspicious was discovered, then the ship was released and proceeded towards the Next Port of Call.”

“The Special Team was very professional, and the unopposed boarding took only 5 hours and safely carried out in accordance with the Task Force 464 Standing Operating Procedures,” the statement added.

In October, Operation IRINI Commander, Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini said that the European Union (EU) needs clear guidelines to improve interoperability while avoiding fragmentation, in order to cope with growing global competition in the Defence industry.

In his speech at the Prague European Summit 2021, Agostini said, “with the launch of Operation IRINI, the EU has demonstrated its ambition to act as an important security provider. This ambition confronts the Member States with the dual need for greater cooperation in defining strategic objectives, and better financial planning for resources to be allocated to capacity building.”

He pointed out that IRINI stresses the importance of the development of “flagship” projects, particularly drones, and thus the additional ability to integrate military know-how into civilian drone technology.

“Drones provided to IRINI by Member States are not made in Europe but in the United States (US) and Israel. In the future, we definitely need more – and in particular, qualitatively more advanced – European Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s),” he said.