from Official Press Release with minor edits by Curtis Hand
The UN Security Council renewed the authorisation for inspections by Operation Irini for one more year. With the vote on Thursday, the UN Security Council extended the Resolution 2292 of 2016 that allows offshore inspections and port diversions of vessels suspected of breaches of the UN’s Libyan arms embargo.
This is an important step as the resolution represents the Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI core task’s basis. It shows the will of the International Community to preserve the legal framework aimed at preventing the illicit trafficking of arms to and from Libya in the common effort to bring peace and stability to the country.
In renewing the Resolution, the UN Security Council implicitly recognises the importance of Operation IRINI’s work, being the only international actor that implements such a Resolution, in an effective, impartial and balanced manner.
Operation Irini investigated 3,344 merchant vessels, carried out 133 ship visits with Masters’ consent (a.k.a. friendly approaches) and conducted 14 onboard inspections on suspected vessels since its launch on 31 March 2020.
Unfortunately, in 37 cases, “friendly approaches” were denied for various reasons, including COVID-related issues, possible delays and national authorities policy, while in six cases IRINI could not proceed to board and inspect suspect vessels due to flag state denials.
All inspections or friendly approaches are carried out in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions framework and in respect of the international law.
All COVID-19 preventive measures were implemented and respected during these activities that in no way can prejudge the nature of activities of the vessels visited or inspected.
Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI also monitored 468 suspicious flights, 25 airports (and landing strips) and 16 ports (and oil terminals).
The main outcomes of all the activities carried out by IRINI, with the key support of the EU Satellite Centre (SATCEN), were submitted to the relevant UN bodies through 23 special and written reports related to any boarding/inspection (including those denied).
Thanks to EUROPOL’s cooperation, IRINI recommended inspections of suspicious vessels at EU Member States ports on 26 occasions.