September 10, 2020 (Google Translation) – On Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 11.30 am, the corvette “Magdeburg” will leave the home port of Warnemünde and set out with her 60-strong crew to Limassol (Cyprus).
Under the command of frigate captain Thorsten Schäfer (44), the “Echo” crew will replace the “Ludwigshafen am Rhein” corvette and the “Delta” crew in the area between Cyprus and Lebanon. But until then, the marines face a two-week isolation on board. “In times of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are more severe shore leave conditions in the country of deployment. For this reason, we tested all soldiers for the COVID-19 disease shortly before leaving the port and remain in the prescribed quarantine until they arrive in the deployment area,” explains the commander. Frigate Captain Schäfer.
But that is not the only challenge the crew faces in the upcoming mission. “First and foremost, we will fulfill our main task of monitoring the sea area on site. This means that we will monitor sea traffic in close cooperation with all other nations involved in the UN mission and the Lebanese authorities and the Lebanese Navy. We should Ships and boats appear suspicious, it is our task to create a safe sea area with targeted inquiries and checks. But we want to continue to train the Lebanese Navy in coastal protection. Due to the recent domestic political events, which came to a head after the explosion in the Beirut port, we are successful and However, the feasibility of training for the Lebanese Navy is limited, “continued Schäfer.
On site, the corvette will be subordinate to the Brazilian command and will contribute to the UN mission in the Mediterranean together with ships from Brazil, Greece, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Turkey. The crew is expected to return home in February 2021.
Since 1978 blue helmet soldiers of the UNIFIL mission (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) have been campaigning for peace between Lebanon and Israel. Initially, her duties included monitoring a proposed ceasefire and confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon. Today the UNIFIL blue helmets are around 10,500 strong and come from around 40 nations.
After the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the mandate was supplemented. Since then, UNIFIL has been helping the Lebanese government secure the sea borders and prevent arms smuggling from the sea. The Maritime Operations Association UNIFIL was the first fleet association under the leadership of the United Nations – German ships and boats have operated in this association from the start. The ships prevent arms smuggling by sea into Lebanon and thus contribute to stability and security in the region. The Lebanese Navy has received valuable equipment from Germany, including guard boats and coastal radar stations. German marines have also been involved in training their Lebanese comrades for several years.