New Brazilian officer assumes command of Maritime Task Force
UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force (MTF) got a new commander last week with the Mission’s head and Force Commander, Major General Stefano Del Col, overseeing the transfer of authority between two Brazilian senior naval officers onboard the UNIFIL flagship “Frigate Liberal” in the Beirut Port.
In his address at the transfer of authority ceremony on 28 February, Major General Del Col appreciated the contribution made by the outgoing MTF commander, Rear Admiral Eduardo Machado Vazquez, and welcomed the new commander, Rear Admiral Eduardo Augusto Wieland for a yearlong tour of duty.
He said that MTF represents a “unique and effective element” within UNIFIL.
Established in October 2006 at the request of the Government of Lebanon, 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.
“The Maritime Task Force’s role and presence have not only contributed to secure the Lebanese territorial waters, but with its presence at sea, it proved the benefits that dominance on maritime environment can have for peacekeeping operations, as well as enabling the efficient and durable deployment of the Lebanese Armed Forces in southern Lebanon,” said Major General Del Col.
UNIFIL MTF currently has about 770 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 92,000 ships, of which about 13,000 were referred to the LAF Navy for inspection.