UNIFIL Maritime Task Force transfer of authority
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today underwent a transfer of command of its Maritime Task Force (MTF) to Rear Admiral Flavio Macedo Brasil from Rear Admiral Walter Eduardo Bombarda at the end of his one-year term at the helm.
The handover ceremony was held aboard the Brazilian flagship "Constituição" at the Beirut International Port. A medal parade ceremony for the Brazilian contingent was also organized.
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Luciano Portolano, Acting Ambassador of Brazil to Lebanon Mr. Henrique Ferraro, Commander in Chief of Lebanese Navy Rear Admiral Nazih Jbaily, senior officers of the Lebanese Armed Forces and other dignitaries, were present at the ceremony.
Outgoing MTF Commander Rear Admiral Bombarda (Brazil) presented a United Nations Flag to Rear Admiral Brasil (Brazil), who is now in-charge of UNIFIL's maritime operations.
Addressing the ceremony Major-General Portolano said: "The presence of the MTF in the area of Maritime operations is an important pillar of the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, complementing the efforts carried out by UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces in our area of operations ashore, at this time of regional instability." "Let me take this opportunity to commend the Lebanese Navy, which has demonstrated time and again its professionalism and outstanding commitment towards securing Lebanese waters," he added.
UNIFIL is the first and only Peacekeeping Mission to have a Maritime Task Force – deployed since October 2006, it supports the Lebanese Navy in monitoring its territorial waters, securing the Lebanese coastline and preventing the unauthorized entry of arms or related material by sea into Lebanon.
UNIFIL-MTF currently comprises naval units from Bangladesh (2 ships), Brazil (1 ship - Flag Ship), Germany (1 ship), Greece (1 ship), Indonesia (1 ship) and Turkey (1 ship). About 800 naval personnel deployed along the Lebanese coast.
Since the start of its operations on 15 October 2006, MTF has hailed around 63,000 ships and referred almost 6,000 suspicious vessels to the Lebanese authorities for further inspection.