Naval News – EUNAVFOR Operation Irini nets embargo buster – 18.07.2022

Last Monday 18th July the EUNAVFOR MED Operation IRINI found cargo in breach of the United Nations (UN) arms embargo on Libya on the ro/ro vessel VICTORY RORO after she was spotted by French Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). She has been on the radar for a while when she delivered military vehicles to the country in March 2022 named as LUCCELLO homeported at Moroni, flying the Comoros flag but since then she was renamed as VICTORY RORO and flag change to Equatorial Guinea (GNQ Flag).

Image courtesy of EUNAVFOR MED.

As soon as she entered the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal coming from Kulayyah, Saudi Arabia where she stayed 8 hours and 43 minutes originally coming from Port Sudan at Sudan ( From 5th July to 8th July ) she was monitored by the Hellenic Navy Frigate HS THEMISTOKLIS F 465 and Italian Navy Frigate ITS GRECALE F 571 which took over to conduct the inspection. Both warships are deployed under operational control of Operation IRINI.

During the inspection, the team identified dozens of vehicles designed or modified for military use and thus assessed to be in violation of the UN arms embargo on Libya. In accordance with UNSCR 2292 (2016) and its mandate, Operation IRINI seized the vehicles violating the UN arms embargo on Libya and is now diverting the ship to an European port for further proceedings. Destination was to Benghazi, Libya with eta on Tuesday 19th July.

The inspection of the 1978 built ro/ro vessel VICTORY RORO is the 24th performed by Operation IRINI since its launch in March 2020 and was carried out in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2292 (2016) and subsequent renewals. They authorize the diversion of ships like this and the seizure of transported arms and arms related material.

Images of ITS GRECALE F 571 moored at Augusta Navy Base back to January, 2020.

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Published – Thursday 21st July, 2022.