On Monday, the new Force Commander of Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, Commodore Theodoros Mikropoulos, started taking command over the mission’s sea assets.
Meanwhile, Italy’s Rear Admiral, Fabio Agostini, will continue to guide the mission’s operations from its Operational Headquarters in Rome.
Mikropoulos is from the Hellenic Navy. He was born in Athens in 1965 and has served in a wide variety of command and staff appointments at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
Mikropoulos served as Chief of Staff of the EU Operational Headquarters (OHQ) of Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI in Rome until the beginning of October. He succeeds Rear Admiral Ettore Socci from the Italian Navy.
In his speech onboard the new Flagship, the Operational Commander of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, Admiral Fabio Agostini said: “The challenge that Commodore Mikropoulos is called to face is key for the accomplishment of the mandate that the Council of the European Union has assigned to Operation IRINI.”
During the Change of Command Ceremony, Admiral Agostini also underlined the importance of the Force Headquarter Staff and the relationship developed with the new Force Commander, after having already worked with him in the OHQ.
Agostini added: “Theodoros Mikropoulos, with the passion and loyalty he has always shown, displays the human and professional qualities essential to perform the work of Force Commander. He will ensure that the Operation continues to be fully accomplished amid such a complex operating environment, further complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Agostini concluded: “Operation IRINI was launched during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic but it has already delivered some significant results in terms of information collection and deterrence on both arms trafficking and oil smuggling activities. These results have been achieved in no small part thanks to the dedicated and tireless work of the former Force Commander, Admiral Ettore Socci, during his mandate,” the Operation Commander concluded.
Notably, the Force Commander is the Commander of the assets (naval and aerial) deployed in the area of operation. He is appointed by the Council upon the Operation Commander’s proposal and EU Military Committee’s endorsement. The Force Commander acts under the authority of the Operation Commander. Italy and Greece will alternate on a half-yearly basis for the position of Force Commander.