Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI - October report

11.11.2022 EEAS Press Team

In October 2022, Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI inspected and diverted one vessel whose cargo was assessed to be in violation of the arms embargo and was seized. The Operation investigated 230 merchant vessels via radio calls (out of 7.528), carried out 8 visits on ships with Masters’ consent (out of 393). The Operation also monitored 42 suspect flights (out of 1052) and continued to monitor 25 airports (and landing strips) and 16 ports (and oil terminals). Through the Crime Information Cell, the Operation issued one (out of 70) recommendation of inspection of a suspect vessel in EU Member States’ ports.

After the 1st Berlin Conference, the Council of the European Union decided to launch, on 31 March 2020, a new Operation called EUNAVOR MED IRINI, mainly maritime and focused on implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya.

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.

Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI tasks are:

  • (primary) to counter illegal arms trafficking, supporting the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya based on the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions;
  • 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;
  • contribute to the disruption of the migrant smuggling business model by collecting information with aerial assets and sharing it with FRONTEX and relevant national authorities;
  • support the development of Libyan Coast Guard and Navy’s Search and Rescue Capacity through training. The implementation in this activity has not started due to the political fragmentation in Lybia.

Since its launch, Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI has boarded and inspected 25 suspect vessels. Three vessels out of 25 were diverted to a port of an EU Member State where their cargos were seized. One flag State (Turkey) has denied the consent to board and inspect suspect vessels on nine occasions. Operation IRINI has also investigated 7,528 merchant vessels through request of information via radio calls (hailing) and visited 393 vessels upon their Masters’ consent (so-called friendly approaches).

Furthermore, the Operation has investigated 1052 suspect flights, 25 airports and 16 ports, and provided 40 special reports to the UN Panel of Expert on Libya, most of which referred to violations or possible violations of the arms embargo and oil smuggling activities in the West and in the East of the Country. Finally, through the embedded Crime Information Cell, the operation issued to the relevant Law Enforcement agencies 70 recommendations for inspection of suspect vessels in EU Member States’ ports, 54 of which were conducted.

These results have demonstrated IRINI’s effectiveness and impartiality.

Inspections or friendly approaches are always carried out in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions framework, in full respect of the international law, without undermining the vessels’ schedule of activities. Furthermore, all COVID-19 preventive measures are always implemented during these activities.

(data updated up to 31 October 2022)