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Operation ‘Irini' interdicts ship carrying military vehicles to Libya

The Italian frigate Grecale (foreground) found military vehicles destined for Libya on Victory Roro (background). (European Union Naval Force Mediterranean Operation Irini)

The European Union mission to enforce the United Nations (UN) arms embargo on Libya announced for the first time on 20 July that it had found proscribed equipment on a ship that it had searched.

Operation ‘Irini' said a French naval aircraft spotted the vehicle carrier Victory Roro after it transited the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. The ship was monitored by the Greek frigate Themistoklis before the Italian frigate Grecale took over to conduct a search on 18 July.

“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,” it said. “Operation ‘Irini' seized the vehicles violating the UN arms embargo on Libya and is now diverting the ship to a European port for further proceedings.”

It said that the UN Panel of Experts on Libya said the same vessel operating under the name Luccello delivered military vehicles to Libya in March 2022.

Operation ‘Irini' has searched 24 ships since it began in March 2020. However, it has repeatedly complained that Turkey, which supports eastern Libyan forces loyal to the Government of National Unity, has denied requests to search ships, most recently on 4 July.

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