01 Apr 2021

EUNAVFOR MED IRINI: new Force Commander and new flagship from the Italian Navy

Taranto (Italy), April 1st – Admiral Fabio Agostini, Operation Commander of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, has attended the ceremony of the takeover of the new Force Commander, Rear Admiral Stefano Frumento of the Italian Navy, who – from today – is in charge of the assets deployed in the area of operation in substitution of Commodore Theodoros Mikropoulos of the Hellenic Navy. At the same time the Italian Warship San Giorgio replaces the Greek Ship Aegean as flagship of the operation.
“Operation IRINI has just completed its first year of activity. In these days, the EU Council has extended the mandate for other two years – says Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini, IRINI’s Operation Commander – This is a recognition of our job and the confirmation of the will of EU Member States to fulfil the commitments they took at the Berlin Conference on Libya, in January last year.”
Rear Admiral Frumento was born in Savona (Italy). He is part of the prestigious group of Italian Navy Seals COMSUBIN, which he had the privilege to command. He was also Commander of the Italian frigate Grecale and the Italian aircraft carrier Garibaldi. He participated in several international Operations.

Bravo Zulu to Commodore Mikropoulos!
Fair winds and following seas to Rear Admiral Frumento!

Operation Commander – Force Commander, which is the difference?
The Operation Commander represents the EU military strategic level of the Operation and exercises his functions from the headquarters located within the premises of the Joint Operational HQ in Rome.
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 Operation Commander proposal and EU Military Committee endorsement. The Force Commander acts under the authority of the Operation Commander. In the duty of the Force Commander, Italy and Greece alternate on a half-yearly basis.
The flagship is the naval unit on which the Force Commander is embarked with his Force Headquarters. The flagship alternates along with the Force Commander. The Italian Force Commander is deployed on the Italian Navy Ship San Giorgio.

What is Operation IRINI?
Operation Irini (named after the Greek word for “peace”) was launched on 31 March 2020, following a decision by the Council of the European Union. IRINI’s mandate has been recently extended for two years, until March 2023. The main task is the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The Operation has also secondary tasks including monitoring illegal oil trafficking from Libya, contributing to countering human trafficking and smuggling activities (through air monitoring) and contributing to the training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy. This latter task at the moment is frozen pending an agreement with the new Libyan government.

IRINI’s fact and figures
In one year of activity, Operation IRINI has investigated more than 2,400 ships and has monitored 200 suspect flights. The Operation has conducted 100 consensual visits onboard merchant vessels (called Friendly Approaches) and nine inspections. It has seized one illegal cargo, after the first ever EU diversion operation, preventing an illegal export of fuel for military purposes.
The Operation monitors 16 Libyan ports and oil facilities,25 airports and landing strips. Operation IRINI has shared more than 22 classified reports with the UN Panel of Experts on Libya covering violations or possible violations of the arms embargo related to both sides of the conflict in Libya.