UNIFIL celebrates 10th anniversary of its Maritime Task Force

In a press release by UNIFIL, it said: "The commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Major General Michael Beary, today praised the work done by the UN mission's Maritime Task Force (MTF) in effectively assisting the Lebanese authorities under the mandate of UN Security Council resolution 1701.

In his remarks at a special ceremony at the Beirut Port, organized to mark the tenth anniversary of the deployment in Lebanon of the UN Peacekeeping's first and only naval force, Major General Beary said the MTF's work has become a trendsetter within the world body.

"Over the last 10 years the Maritime Task Force has laid the foundations of a United Nations naval doctrine," said the UNIFIL head, addressing an audience comprising MTF Commander Rear Admiral Claudio Mello, Lebanese Navy Commander Rear Admiral Majed Alwan, representative of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Brigadier General George Shreim, Lebanese officials, journalists and UNIFIL peacekeepers on the pier in front of MTF's flagship Frigate "Liberal."

"As a result of a decade of closely planned training, today the LAF Navy patrol their territorial waters, use modern coastal radar to monitor sea traffic, plan and execute complex special operations exercises and coordinate search and rescue operations at sea. I can assure the LAF Navy personnel present today that UNIFIL remains commited to this important task," he added.

MTF was deployed on 15 October 2006 at the request of the Government of Lebanon, following the adoption of the resolution 1701 by the UN Security Council.

MTF supports the Lebanese Navy preventing the unauthorized entry of arms or related material by sea into Lebanon. It also assists the Lebanese Navy enhancing its capabilities by carrying out a range of different training courses and joint exercises with the intent of the Lebanese Navy assume all duties required for maritime security.

Speaking at today's ceremony in Beirut, Major General Beary paid tribute to the 15 countries that have contributed naval assets to MTF since 2006 "for their assistance in playing their important part in implementing UNIFIL's mandate." He also thanked and congratulated the Lebanese Navy for the work they have engaged in with MTF over the last 10 years.

"I hope that everyone here today will agree with me when I say that it has been a remarkable partnership," he added.

In the last ten years, UNIFIL MTF has hailed more than 70,000 ships, of which more than 8,500 were referred to the Lebanese Navy for inspection.

UNIFIL MTF currently has more than 850 uniformed naval personnel and seven ships: two from Bangladesh and one each from Brazil, Germany, Greece, Indonesia and Turkey. There are two onboard helicopters.

Source: National News Agency