17 months in action: Corvette back from the Mediterranean

October 23, 2020 (Google Translation) – On Saturday, October 24th, 2020 at 10 am, the corvette “Ludwigshafen am Rhein” will return to her home port of Warnemünde under the command of frigate captain Thorsten Vögler (39).

The corvette was deployed for 17 months in UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) and covered over 67,000 nautical miles. During this time there were three crew changes. The crew “Delta” last spent 101 days on the corvette off the Lebanese coast. The 60-man crew was tasked with working with other international partners to support the Lebanese authorities in monitoring maritime traffic and preventing arms smuggling.

“I am proud of my crew that, in addition to the normal operational and seafaring stresses, they bore all additional hardships with discipline and responsibility and fulfilled their mission with passion,” said the commander, Frigate Captain Vögler. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, strict hygiene requirements had to be observed during the entire period. This also included the ban on going ashore. Despite the adversity, the mission of the “Ludwigshafen am Rhein” is a complete success and shows the stamina of the units even with longer periods of deployment.

The marines were subordinate to the Brazilian command on site. In addition to Germany, ships and boats from Brazil, Greece, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Turkey continue to participate in the UN mission in the Mediterranean. Since the beginning of October the corvette “Magdeburg” has been patrolling in her place off the Lebanese coast. From January 2021, the entire fleet association will be placed under German leadership.

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.

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