EUNAVFOR MED IRINI is a European Union Operation deployed in the Central Mediterranean Sea that aims at contributing to peace and stability in Libya.
The primary task of the operation – which can affect vessels calling at Libyan ports – is the implementation of the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council through UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011) and UN Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016). EUNAVFOR MED IRINI has deployed aerial, naval and satellite assets to contribute to stemming the flow of weapons into Libya. To accomplish their task, the military forces of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI carry out procedures known as hailings, friendly approaches and boardings.
The first step of cooperation with the vessels at sea is a hailing. Military assets call vessels on CH16 to verify AIS information and/or to gather missing information. Replying to a hailing is a good practice and builds trust.
Friendly Approach (FA)
The FA is a consensual visit that can be undertaken without any specific approval by the flag State of the concerned vessel and does not entail any enforcing activity or unnecessary delay for the vessel.
The FA represents a great opportunity for EUNAVFOR MED IRINI to come in contact with the maritime community and to exchange information, enhancing the maritime awareness and security in the Central Mediterranean Sea. Furthermore, these visits build up trust and understanding between the crew of the vessel and the personnel of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI.
The military procedure to inspect a vessel’s cargo – in case the presence of embargo goods is suspected – is known as a boarding. For a boarding to be carried out, a number of requirements have to be met.
It should be underscored that EUNAVFOR MED IRINI has the legal mandate and the military assets to conduct a boarding without the permission of the master.
Boarding a vessel is a military procedure, following a given format, and will be conducted in a straight-forward manner. The boarding team expects full cooperation and will give clear instructions to be followed by the crew. The search of crew members and the accommodation will be done in a most respectful way and will always be limited to an absolute minimum.
The boarding team knows that a vessel’s crew has generally no information if embargo goods are on board, especially on container vessels, but expects full support when controlling the cargo (documents and holds). Full support to the boarding team also means that the time needed to carry out the inspection remains as short as possible.
With regard to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we want to ensure you that to the whole personnel of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI is certified COVID-free before its deployment. Additionally, all the necessary precautions are always implemented when conducting a FA, boarding or any kind of interaction with a vessel’s crew in order to avoid any possible risk of infection