NATO ships move to enforce UN arms embargo

  • 23 Mar. 2011 -
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  • Last updated: 23 Mar. 2011 18:51

NATO warships and aircraft have started patrolling the approaches to Libya’s coast as part of Operation Unified Protector. Their mission is to enforce the arms embargo called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Canadian Frigate HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN, seen here in the Central Mediterranean, is one of several Allied ships currently operating under the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 which will soon commence patrols to enforce the UN Mandated Arms Embargo against Libya

This is part of NATO’s contribution to broad international efforts to protect civilians in Libya from the violence committed by the Ghaddafi regime.

Six NATO ships are already in international waters off Libya’s coast to monitor and enforce the arms embargo mandated by the UN. A chief planner of the mission at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Brigadier General Pierre St Amand said at a press conference in Brussels that Allies have already pledged a further 16 ships to the mission. 

The operation is being commanded by Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri from NATO Maritime Command Naples.  

Patrol aircraft and fighter jets are also heading towards the area of operations to provide long-range surveillance and intercept any suspected flights carrying weapons into Libya.  

The operation is designed to “cut off the flow of arms and mercenaries” into Libya, NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said.  

The ships will remain in international waters and will not enter Libyan territorial waters.  

Their main task will be to monitor ships and aircraft heading towards Libyan territory. They have the right to stop and search any vessel they suspect of carrying prohibited cargo.