Today, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) held a ceremony in Naqoura, south Lebanon, to mark the transfer of authority of its Maritime Task Force (MTF) from Brazil to Germany.
Rear Admiral Sergio Renato Berna Salgueirinho from Brazil handed over the command to Rear Admiral Axel Schulz of the German Navy.
“I would like to thank the Brazilian Government and its Navy for their commitment to UNIFIL, which greatly contributed to the MTF’s effectiveness,” said UNIFIL’s Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major-General Stefano Del Col. “And this especially on the occasion of the transfer of authority, which marks not only the transfer of the MTF command from Brazil to Germany, but also marks the end of an ‘era’ for Brazil, after 10 years at the helm of the MTF.”
UNIFIL is the only peacekeeping mission with a Maritime Task Force. Five ships from five different countries work 24/7 to improve security and help develop the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) own naval capabilities.
Established in October 2006 at the request of the Government of Lebanon, UNIFIL’s MTF supports the LAF Navy in preventing the unauthorized entry of arms or related material by sea into Lebanon.
UNIFIL’s MTF also focuses on assisting Lebanon raise its own naval forces to control and protect Lebanon's seaways and territorial waters. It currently has 612 personnel and five ships, one each from Bangladesh, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, and Turkey.
“During last year, the MTF excelled in conducting maritime interdiction operations training for the LAF Navy and your active role and presence at sea, became a familiar sight and a comforting presence for the Lebanese people,” said Major-General Del Col.
In 2020, the MTF took on a leading role in UNIFIL’s response following the Beirut port explosion. One MTF ship was in the port at the time and was damaged, while 23 sailors were injured.
Since 2006, UNIFIL’s MTF has hailed more than 106,000 ships, of which around 16,000 were referred to the LAF Navy for inspection.