News BlogMediterranean seaMissions Operations

New Force Commander. New flagship. And extended term… Operation Irini continues

(B2) The European operation to monitor the international embargo (arms and oil) off the coast of Libya has been given a new two-year mandate. Until March 31, 2023. Italy takes over from Greece

The San Giorgio, new flagship of Operation Irini (credit: MOD Italy)

An Italian commander of the naval force

It is the Italian naval captain Stefano Frumento (promoted to rear admiral) who takes the helm of the European Union naval force (EUNAVFOR Med) from Thursday (April 1) off the coast of Libya. A native of Savona, he distinguished himself in particular by commanding the Nave Grecale, at the height of the migrant crisis. In July 2014, he had collected nearly 600 migrants on board, as reported by the daily La Repubblica. THE Nave Grecale was one of the first Italian frigates engaged in migrant rescue operations off the coast of Libya as part of the national operation Mare Nostrum, started in October 2013. More recently, he commanded the GOI (Incursion Operational Group), the combat swimmers group of the Italian Navy (its original corps), before taking command of the aircraft carrier in 2019 Giuseppe Garibaldi (C-551). NB: its passage in the European operation is therefore not insignificant. And he could be a propellant to other positions in the future.

Change of flag for the flagship

Rear Admiral Frumento replaces his Greek counterpart Theodoros Mikropoulos who had been in command since October 19, 2020. He will operate aboard theITS San Giorgio (L-9892) which will be the new flagship. The crew of the helicopter carrier landing ship is well versed in the European area and operations. THE San Giorgio was the flagship of Operation Irini during the summer of 2020 (read: The Italian flagship of Operation Irini, the San Giorgio, arrives as reinforcements et Change of flagship to EUNAVFOR Med Irini). He also officiated in the previous operation, Sophia, in particular to train the Libyan coast guard (read: The first graduates of the Libyan Coast Guard! The San Giorgio leaves the edge).

Two-year extension

Operation Irini has just been extended for a period of two years, with an almost unchanged mandate. The only significant change: details on the conditions for diverting ships and the fate of seized military equipment (destruction or transfer to another country). (Read : EUNAVFOR Med Irini operation extended for two years. Details on the rerouting of ships). Command of the operation remains in the hands of an Italian, Rear Admiral Fabio Agostini, who performs his duties from HQ in Rome.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).