UNIFIL’s naval peacekeepers train off Beirut coast
UNIFIL’s naval peacekeepers from its Maritime Task Force (MTF) carried out two exercises to enhance their interoperability and the capability of the Lebanese Navy off the coast of Beirut earlier this week.
The “boarding” exercise on 9 March sought to enhance coordination between UNIFIL’s German naval officers and the Lebanese naval officers. This involved Lebanese officers boarding the German corvette “FGS OLDENBURG” using ropes lowered from a helicopter. In the end, the Lebanese naval officers executed it with grit and professionalism.
The second exercise “mailbag,” conducted on 10 March between UNIFIL’s German and Indonesian officers, saw various items exchanged between two moving ships – “FGS OLDENBURG” and Indonesia’s “KRI SULTAN HASANUDDIN.” The commander of “FGS OLDENBURG,” Stephan Lukaszyk, oversaw the overall execution of this exercise.
Established in October 2006 at the request of the Government of Lebanon, UNIFIL MTF currently has about 770 personnel and six ships: one each from Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Indonesia and Turkey.
It supports the Lebanese 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 Lebanese Navy in order to prepare it to assume all duties required for maritime security. In addition, UNIFIL’s German naval officers train their Lebanese counterparts at the Lebanese Navy base in Jounieh, north of Beirut.