Operation Irini inspects a vessel for suspected violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya

Operation EUNAVFOR MED Irini boarded and inspected the Merchant Vessel Royal Diamond 7 early in the morning for suspected violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya. The boarding team of an Irini ship boarded the vessel in international waters, 150 km north of the Libyan city of Derna (Cyrenaica).

The vessel departed from the port of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and was heading to Benghazi in Libya. MV Royal Diamond 7 was carrying a cargo of Jet fuel, likely to be used for military purposes. This fuel is considered as “military material” by the UN and therefore UN Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016) and 2526 (2020) apply.

The boarding operation was carried out by the German frigate FGS Hamburg with the support of the flagship of Operation Irini, the Italian frigate ITS Margottini. The Force Commander, Admiral Ettore Socci, conducted the operation from onboard the flagship and has denied MV Royal Diamond 7 access to Libyan territorial waters and is diverting the vessel to a port of the European Union for further investigation.

Irini was operating on information provided by UN Panel of Experts on Libya, which highlighted the suspicious nature of this cargo.

Operation Irini is a concrete demonstration of the EU’s commitment to support the Berlin process, restore stability in Libya and bring peace to its population.

From May 4, when the Operation started its activity at sea, Irini assets have patrolled the central Mediterranean and performed 650 hailings and made 12 friendly approaches (visits on board of merchant vessels). The Operation has monitored suspect vessels at sea in more than ten ports and landing points. It detected 80 suspect flights possibly carrying military related cargos back and forth to Libya, monitoring 25 airports and landing strips.

Operation Irini is contributing to the UN arms embargo and the prevention of oil smuggling with 14 special reports to the United Nations Panel of Experts concerning both sides of the conflict in Libya, in an impartial manner. These results were possible thanks to SatCen (European Union Satellite Centre), which provided more than 230 sets of satellite images at Irini’s requests.