German fleet tender intercepts Libyan weapons in the Med
A German Navy fleet tender with an embarked team of Lithuanian boarding specialists intercepted a Libyan weapon-smuggling vessel on May 1.
Tender ‘Rhein’ intercepted the Libyan-flagged vessel ‘El Mukthar’ in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. ‘Rhein’ is currently part of a EUNAVFOR counter-piracy and counter-smuggling task force called operation Sophia.
According to EUNAVFOR, several types of weapons including machine guns, AK47 rifles, RPG bullets, RPG launchers, mortar grenades and ammunition were found during the inspection.
“All weapons were seized and then transferred on board the German ship to be checked, counted and then disposed of by military personnel, in accordance with paragraph 3 of the UNSCR 2292,” EUNAVFOR said.
Operation Sophia was launched on June 22, 2015 with the core task to contribute to wider EU efforts to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean.
Additionally, from October 2016 EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia has been carrying out two additional tasks: the training of the Libyan Navy and Libyan Navy Coast Guard and the implementation of the arms embargo off the coast of Libya.