Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini, Commander of the European Union’s Operation IRINI said that they have so far inspected about 1,400 ships and 130 flights, in addition to monitoring 16 ports, oil stations, and 25 airports.
“We made 61 consensual visits onboard commercial ships and we recently inspected 6 commercial vessels, one of which was diverted to a Greek port to prevent the delivery of fuel to military aircraft,” Agostini added.
He explained that since the start of the operation they have submitted 17 special reports to the United Nations with evidence of illegal arms trade. He stressed that although the operation began at the outbreak of COVID-19, it has already yielded clear, balanced, and impartial results.
The commander stressed that the operation is an important tool for a permanent solution to the Libyan crisis. He expressed the willingness of the operation to play a role in monitoring the ceasefire agreement, should Libya or the UN request it. Agostini stressed that IRINI is not directed against any person or country and implements the arms embargo throughout the area of operations. It is considered the most important military operation for the European Common Defence Policy.
Operation IRINI was launched on 31 March, and its tasks remain the same as in the previous Operation Sophia, but in a different order only. Agostini explained that ensuring compliance with the arms embargo has become the main task. He said that all other tasks such as controlling illicit oil trades, dismantling human trafficking networks, training of the Libyan Navy and Libyan Coast Guard remain as secondary tasks.
Regarding the tools available, Agostini said that they are currently relying on three ships dedicated to it on a permanent basis. The three ships are the German frigate ‘Hamburg’, the Italian patrol vessel ‘Cigala Fulgosi’, and the Greek destroyer ‘Adrias’. He explained that the planes for the operation have been provided by Poland and Luxembourg, as well as include an Italian drone. There are also two planes from France and Greece, which are available in a less consistent manner.