The Libyan National Army (LNA) has retrieved an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) from an unnamed nation on the 17th of May. The naval vessel “Aisling” – a P21 class OPV was commandeered when it ventured into the port of Benghazi.
The LNA disclosed that the ship was a former Libyan vessel that had been
“retrieved from an unidentified foreign country after seven years”
The LNA also revealed that the new vessel acquisition was a “qualitative leap” for the naval fleet.
The vessel was further renamed Al-Karama meaning “Dignity,” after the operation that was launched to secure Benghazi four years earlier from Insurgents.
According to IHS Jane’s, it was decommissioned in 2016 and sold for EUR110,000 at an auction to the Dutch shipbroker Dick van der Kamp in March 2017. Two months later, It was put up for sale again with an asking price of USD750,000.
The Aisling P 21-class OPV is a 65 m-long, 1,000 tonne boat first commissioned in 1980 for the Irish Navy. The boat is armed with a 40 mm main gun, two 20 mm cannons, and two 7.62 mm machine guns.
Al-Karama would most likely protect Libya’s territorial waters as well as conduct counter terrorism and human trafficking.
It appears that the Libyan Military is on the verge of reorganising and re-arming its forces after years of bitter fighting. Recall that on February this year, we reported that a Libyan Air Force MiG-25PD(S) Foxbat interceptor aircraft has been made air worthy. The MiG-25 with a tail number “7012” was seen performing preflight activities at the Misrata Air base, after undergoing a lengthy reactivation process.
The Foxbat was also seen armed with a pair of R-40TD and R-40RD long-range air-to-air missiles.