HS Aegean, the new flagship of Operation Irini
On February 2 Operation Commander, Admiral Fabio Agostini, attends the ceremony of hand over/take over of the flagship. The Greek ship HS Adrias is substituted by HS Aegean, always under the command of the Force Commander Mikropoulos (see the chain of command). The ceremony takes place onboard HS Adrias in full respect of Covid-19 measures. In this occasion the OpCommander awards HS Adrias’ crew with the Common Security and Defence Policy service medals. In 111 days at sea, HS Adrias performed 88 hailings, conducted 6 friendly approaches and 1 boarding.
“In addressing my warmest welcome to the AEGEAN within the EUNAVFOR MED Task Force 464 – says Admiral Agostini during the ceremony – I am sure that the example provided by the excellent performance of ADRIAS will guide the new flagship to continue on the same successful path, in line with the most noble traditions of the Hellenic navy.”
Facts and figures
Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI was launched on 31 March 2020. On May 4 started its activity at sea. Its core task is the implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets (read more about the mission). The Operation can currently count on two maritime assets, an UAV and three Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft assigned on a continuous basis and two additional aerial assets only for several sorties per month (see the assets). Satellite imagery is provided by the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen).
In 10 months of activity, Irini assets have patrolled the central Mediterranean investigating more than 1700 merchant vessels (hailings), conducting 66 friendly approaches (consensual visits on board of merchant vessels) 6 inspections (boardings) of merchant vessels to verify their cargo and one diversion of a merchant vessel for infringement to the arms embargo. The Operation has also monitored the activities in 16 Libyan ports and oil facilities.
With regard to the air routes monitoring, the operation has checked 25 airports and landing strips as well as more than 155 flights possibly carrying military related cargos back and forth to Libya.
All these activities have been carried out in full respect of the impartiality principle towards the belligerent parties in Libya, to which Operation IRINI has always strictly complied. This is also evidenced by the 18 special reports that the Operation has issued to the United Nations Panel of Experts on Libya regarding violations or possible violations of the UN Security Council resolutions on the arms embargo and on the prevention of oil smuggling.