MTF carries out “Mailbag” exercise with LAF Navy

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17 May 2018

MTF carries out “Mailbag” exercise with LAF Navy

UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force (MTF) carried out an exercise off the coast of Beirut together with the Lebanese Armed Forces - Navy (LAF-N) in order to enhance the cooperation and coordination between the two forces, earlier this week.

The purpose of the “Mailbag” exercise, conducted by the UNIFIL flagship Frigate “Independência” with the Lebanese vessel “LNS Tabarja” on 15 May, was to evaluate the performance of the personnel involved in replenishing at sea. The exercise, which is conducted regularly between the two forces, also involved delivering material, like spare parts or documents, from one ship to another.

UNIFIL MTF Commander Rear Admiral Eduardo Vazquez said the training is essential for LAF-Navy, “first, to contribute with MTF in Maritime Interdiction Operation and, in the future, conduct by itself surveillance and protection to the Lebanon`s territorial waters.”

The “Mailbag” exercise is the part of an intensive training of the LNS Tabarja crew, conducted by UNIFIL’s MTF personnel in close coordination with LAF-N between 26 February and 18 May 2018. Following the conclusion of the training, the LAF ship will undergo an efficiency inspection, enabling it to increase her capacity to stay at sea safely from 24 to 48 hours uninterrupted.

Established in October 2006 at the request of the Government of Lebanon, UNIFIL MTF currently has about 765 personnel and six ships: one each from Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Indonesia and Turkey. The Brazilian Navy has been in the command of the MTF since 2011. Since 2006, UNIFIL’s MTF has hailed about 86,000 ships, of which about 12,000 were referred to the LAF Navy for inspection.

UNIFIL MTF supports the LAF Navy in preventing the unauthorized entry of arms or related materiel by sea into Lebanon. Its mission also focuses on assisting Lebanon raise its own naval forces to control and protect Lebanon's seaways and territorial waters. In order to achieve that, MTF carries out a range of different training courses and joint exercises with the LAF Navy in order to prepare it to assume all duties required for maritime security, protecting Lebanon's sovereignty and supporting economic investment.