(last update, Friday 18 p.m.)
While the evacuation of European citizens and other foreign nationals in Libya is accelerating (1), different maritime means are converging in the region, officially to ensure the protection of the evacuations in progress (all countries) or to prevent any illegal immigration (Italy ). I have identified around ten ships (all members of NATO) which have received their sailing orders or are already on site supplied by around ten countries: Italy, Turkey, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Greece, Germany , France Without counting South Korea, China and India.
Frigates, destroyers, listening and support ships... If it is too hasty to speak of an operation, it strangely resembles a prepositioning of means, or at least a "show of force" as they say in the 'aviation. To follow closely! This may be the beginning of the end for the Libyan leader.
It is also symbolic of an awareness, somewhat belated for some countries (France, Italy in particular), of the need to rapidly evacuate nationals from Libyan territory, as well as an evolution in the states of spirit (all in all, quick in international diplomacy, always reluctant to sudden changes) in the face of the harshness of the Libyan regime.
The resources mobilized
Italy : An electronic listening vessel, INS Eletta (A-5340) was dispatched to the area. And a second ship, the guided missile destroyer Francesco Mimbelli (D-561), with a crew of 350, will be sent. Two Navy corvettes, the "Chimera" (F-556) and "Phoenix", are already patrolling the Strait of Sicily, as part of the European operation "Hermes" of Frontex, to prevent illegal immigration.
Netherlands : The Hr Ms Tromp (F-803), which was en route to Somali waters to take part in the NATO anti-piracy operation (Ocean Shield), was ordered to turn back; he was then in the Red Sea and will have to recross the Suez Canal. It is expected for Friday (February 25) off Libyan waters. THE Hr. Mr. De Ruyter, the current flagship of Ocean Shield, will therefore remain in operation longer.
UK : The frigate HMS Cumberland (F-85), which is returning from a mission in the Arabian Sea (in particular protection of the Iraqi oil terminal of Al Basra) and in the Gulf of Aden (anti-piracy for the international coalition CMF, under American direction) received the order to proceed towards the "libya international waters", to be ready"to come to the aid of the British if necessary". This will be her last mission... She must indeed return to her home port in Devonport to be disarmed. The Hms york (F-), who was en route to the Falkland Islands from Gibraltar, had been placed on alert for a few days, was rerouted on Friday. And received the order to head for the shores of Libya.
Turkey : a frigate, the TCG Gelibolu (F-493) and a supply ship, as well as the TCG ferry Iskenderun (A-1600).
Greece : the frigate Psara (F-54) left Crete on Thursday, February 24.
Germany : the German Navy sends 3 ships to the area, the frigates Brandenburg (F-215) and Rheinland-Pfalz (F-209) as well as the support and supply ship Berlin (A-1411). On board 600 soldiers and sailors. NB: three other ships seem to be on alert, in the area, taking part in a NATO maneuver.
France : 3 ships are available to the European Union for the evacuation. Read : Conflict in Libya: the BPC Mistral and 2 frigates available to the EU
A (scheduled) NATO exercise is due to start these days off Spain (Almeria), bringing together around twenty ships, 4 submarines and 4 aircraft, under the command of the Spanish ship SPS Castilla, coordinated by NATO Maritime HQ in Northwood (UK). The resources are provided by around ten countries, mainly Spain and Germany, but also Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, France (the frigate FNS Tourville and the nuclear submarine Saphir and a maritime patrol aircraft), the United States (P3 Orion).
South Korea : South Korea decided, Thursday, February 24, to send a 4500-ton destroyer off the coast of Libya, the Choi Young (DDH 981), currently stationed in Somali waters, in the fight against pirates, to evacuate its nationals.
India : the Indian government announced on Friday February 25 that it intended to send 3 warships, including the amphibious ship INS Jalashwa (Nb: India has about 18.000 nationals in Libya).
China : the Chinese government has decided to send the Xuzhou, a Type 054 Jiangkai-II missile frigate, taken from the anti-piracy contingent.
NB: Many of these ships are not unknown to the faithful readers of this blog : they participate, or have already participated in the anti-piracy operations of the European Union or other multinational forces (NATO "ocean shield" or CTF 151) deployed in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden for more than two years. Some of them were taken from the personnel deployed in the Indian Ocean.
(1) Read also:
- The evacuation of Europeans from Libya, the operation is accelerating (updated regularly)
- In Libya: a crime against humanity?
- Italian forces on “high alert” (Maj1)
- The evacuation of Europeans from Libya begins (maj6