Germany Details IRINI Mission

Google Translation

Maritime Interdiction Operations

Different categories can be used depending on the level of suspicion and the ship’s willingness to cooperate. In addition to hailing and the friendly approach , there are basically three types of boarding: unopposed, non-cooperative and opposed boarding. These differ with regard to the level of non-lethal and lethal violence in accordance with the applicable rules on the use of military force. These so-called Rules ofCommitment, or ROEs for short, form the legally binding framework for the soldiers deployed in the on-board operations company of the sea battalion that carries out the boarding. The marines can be transported by speedboat and / or helicopter, depending on the location and the sea. Depending on the situation, there are several options for action, adapted to the situation, in order to implement their mandate, from simple inquiries (hailing) to opposed boarding for the naval association.


There are four soldiers in one room.  Two soldiers are sitting on chairs and one of them is talking on a radio

The officer on watch addresses a ship on the radio. Bundeswehr / Christian Thiel

The so-called hailing is the first contact and query of a ship via VHF marine radio. Here, data on a merchant ship is collected, such as general and technical data, crew, freight and itinerary. The knowledge gained will be sent to the EU European Union– Transfer of the association management, which evaluates them and, if necessary, orders further measures The hailing thus forms the basis of a decision-making process about further necessary military measures to implement the order. In the case of Operation Irini, the main task is to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya. In the simplest case, the hailing is inconspicuous and the requested ship is released for onward voyage, as a so-called cleared vessel.

Friendly approach

A soldier is standing at a table with papers and cards on it
On the bridge, a soldier checks the ship’s papers.  Bundeswehr / PAO Irini

By definition, the friendly approach is not about boarding, but rather approaching a non-suspicious ship, which always requires the consent of its captain. The use of coercive measures, assignment of whereabouts, the collection of personal data and searches are prohibited for the emergency services. The aim here is to obtain information and clear up conversations as well as informing the crew about the aim of the operation. This is intended to arouse understanding for the presence of warships in the sea area and to build mutual trust. The approval of the state whose flag the ship flies is not required for a friendly approach .

Unopposed boarding

A helicopter flies over a ship and a soldier slips on a rope from the helicopter onto the ship

Fast roping is a way to get to the other ship quickly. In rough seas it also offers an alternative to the speedboat. Bundeswehr / PAO Irini

Unopposed boarding represents the lowest level of the boarding garden. If the hailing gives rise to suspicion of a violation of the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council on Libya, the EU may European Union-Arrange the operation management of one of your ships in the operation area with boarding. In principle, both the consent of the civilian captain and the consent of the flag state must be available for this. The crew is cooperative and resistance is neither recognizable nor expected. It is customary for a pilot ladder to be deployed when transferring via speedboat and for the team leader to be picked up by the ship’s first officer. After boarding the ship, the boarding team in cooperation with the crew conduct an intensive search under its own safety. The crew members are photographed and identified. In addition, all papers and documents are viewed and evaluated. For the safety of the boarding team, the crew is assigned a common location.

Non-Cooperative Boarding

A crew member leads two soldiers over the ship

Soldiers examine the ship and the cargo. Bundeswehr / PAO Irini

With non-cooperative boarding, neither the consent of the flag state nor the consent of the captain are given. The crew sometimes takes passive resistance measures to make it difficult for the team to board, to delay or to prevent it. Typical examples are not responding to marine voice calls or refusing to be boarded, including failing to deploy a pilot ladder. For the boarding team, this means that it may have to obtain further ROEs from the association leader. The boarding team is brought onto the ship against the will of the crew and searches it. When searching the ship, greater attention must be paid to self-protection.

Opposed boarding

Two armed soldiers run down a corridor

With opposed boarding, the soldiers are prepared for anything. Bundeswehr / David Hecker

Opposed boarding represents the most robust level of boarding. The suspected ship actively refuses to let the boarding team on board. As a rule, the team has to force access. On the part of the crew, the aim is clearly to ward off boarding forces. With opposed boarding there is a high risk for the emergency services, and the use of gun violence is conceivable from both sides. On board the watercraft, the task force is required to adopt a tactical approach that puts the safety of the team in the foreground and at the same time enables evidence, data and information to be secured. Opposed boarding by forces of the Bundeswehr requires the use of special forces.

Actions after boarding

Depending on the results of the boarding, further measures may be necessary if a suspicion of a violation of applicable law or the UN embargo is confirmed. This could, for example, be redirected to an EU to be specified European Union-Be the port for further investigation of the ship and its cargo. One speaks of diversion. If a ship is suspected of violating a UN resolution, samples are taken from a liquid cargo (e.g. kerosene) and brought ashore for further investigation. If the suspicion is confirmed, measures up to the seizure and detention of the crew are possible. The scope of the military coercive measures is always based on the principle of proportionality and in accordance with the approved ROEs. If the scope is not sufficient on the tactical level of the naval ship commander, he must show this to the unit leader and can have the ROEs approved for the implementation of the boarding order. If the further investigation is normal, however, the merchant ship is released to continue the journey.

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