German Navy press release
Under the command of Corvette Captain Oliver Brux, the boat’s 29-member crew headed to warmer waters for just over four months. The maximum capacity of 36 people will be fully utilized by additionally embarking some students from the squadron, who will use this opportunity for intensive training on board.
“After the long and strenuous preparation for deployment, there is great anticipation within the crew for the upcoming deployment. It is both a reward and a strain. Both the crew and the families at home will be challenged in equal measure. Only together is it possible to tackle such a long absence of more than four months with the necessary composure.”Corvette Captain, Oliver Brux
The boat was en route to the area of operations for about three weeks, including a supply stop in Rota, Spain. The area of operations extends in the central and southern Mediterranean south of the island of Sicily to the territorial waters of Libya and Tunisia. The mission of the European Union’s Operation Irini is to monitor and enforce the arms embargo against Libya, but also to disrupt smuggling activities on the refugee routes in the Mediterranean. U35 will be based at several ports in Italy and on the island of Malta. In addition, a longer port stay with the possibility of family reunification on the Greek island of Crete is planned around the middle of the deployment.
The boat and crew are expected back in their home port of Eckernförde in mid-October. The long journey home will again be interrupted by a supply stop, then in the Portuguese capital Lisbon.
After the European Union Foreign Ministers agreed on February 17, 2020 to monitor the UN arms embargo against Libya, Operation “Irini” was decided by the EU Council one month later.
The European Union is stepping up its efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo against Libya, contributing to the peace process in the country by launching a new Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) military operation in the Mediterranean. “Irini” (Modern Greek for “the peaceful one”) has as its core mission the implementation of the UN arms embargo through aircraft, satellites and ships. This includes detecting, stopping, and searching arms smuggling into Libya, suspected ships in the area of operations (UN Security Council Resolution 2292 ).
Other mission tasks include monitoring and gathering intelligence on illegal exports of petroleum, crude oil, and refined petroleum products from Libya. European Union Naval Forces Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED) assists with Libyan Coast Guard/Navy capacity building and maritime law enforcement training. Furthermore, Operation “Irini” contributes to disrupting the business model of human smuggling and trafficking by gathering intelligence and sharing it with the relevant law enforcement agencies of EU member states.
The operational area of “Irini” covers the high seas outside the coastal seas of Libya and Tunisia, south of Sicily, within the Central and Southern Mediterranean region. In addition, the airspace above these areas and adjacent sea areas used for the detour and transfer of ships to a European port. This excludes Malta and the enclosing sea area within 15 nautical miles. The area of operations is approximately the size of the Federal Republic of Germany.