IRINI: Turkey Refused Inspection of Ship Heading to Libya

IRINI: Turkey Refused Inspection of Ship Heading to Libya
IRINI: Turkey Refused Inspection of Ship Heading to Libya

On Wednesday, the European Union’s Operation, EUNAVFOR MED IRINI said Turkey has refused its request to inspect the Turkish-flagged ship MV KOSOVAK heading for Libya.

IRINI added that the inspection request was made in accordance with United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2292, on the arms embargo on Libya.

“The Security Council calls upon all UN members to cooperate with inspections,” the statement concluded.

In November 2022, IRINI announced the seizure of dozens of military vehicles en route to Libya, in possible violation of the UN arms embargo. The inspection was conducted on 11 October, according to the statement. IRINI inspected the merchant vessel, MV MEERDIJK off the coast of Libya.

The vehicles were seized and the ship was diverted to a European port for further inspection. Following the inspection by the UN Panel of Experts, the vehicles were disembarked and stored ashore.

Notably, the European Union extended the mandate of IRINI, meant to enforce the arms and oil embargo on Libya and fight human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea.

EU Foreign Affairs Ministers agreed to extend the mandate of IRINI until the 31st of March 2025, the Council of the EU announced in a statement.

The costs are estimated to be €16.9 million euros ($18 million dollars) for the upcoming two years, the statement further added.

Turchetto noted that IRINI will “continue to gather useful information to compare the illicit trafficking of not only arms to Libya, but also oil and people smuggling to Europe.”

He pointed out that Europe “will build capacities and train law enforcement personnel in Libyan institutions responsible for SAR enforcement. So that Libya will be able to operate effectively, in accordance with international agreements and human rights in the sea.”

Established in 2020, the military mission aims to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya in the air, in the sea, and by satellites.

“IRINI is part of the European integrated approach to Libya involving political, military, economic, and humanitarian efforts to bring stability and security to the country,” the Operation says on its website.

It focuses on countering illegal arms trafficking and supporting the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya. It works to gather information on oil smuggling, in particular, due to its consequences on the Libyan economy, and its possible use to finance the arms market.

It also contributes to the disruption of the migrant smuggling business model, by collecting information with aerial assets and sharing them with FRONTEX and relevant national authorities.