As promised on July 9, the Italian Parliament has approved the transfer of 12 patrol boats to Libya, the boats which were first promised on July 9, will be used by the Libyan Coast Guard and the Ministry of Interior to combat the flow of illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea.
The boats are being donated as part of a bilateral agreement between Italy and Libya in 2008, to strengthen the Libyan naval capabilities which has slowly been destroyed since the civil war. Additionally, a 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of National Congress and the previous Italian Government was signed.
Under the 2018 MoU, Ayoub Qasim, the spokesperson of the Italian Navy, revealed that Italy would build and maintain a facility for the Libyan Border Guards in the city of Ghat, south Libya.
The Italian government will also take responsibility for the maintenance of the 12 boats until the end of 2018, and also to train Libyan Coast Guard and Naval personnel. Furthermore, a sum of $1 million and 400 thousand euros will be allocated to the Libyan Navy for maintenance and training, a further 17 patrol boats are also expected.
The donated boats include 10 refurbished ex-Italian Coast Guard (Guardia Costiera) 500-class patrol boats and two Corrubia-class patrol boats decommissioned from the Italian Customs Police (Guardia di Finanza) fleet . ￼
The Corrubia patrol boats are a class of coastal patrol boats, eleven of which were built at Cantieri del Golfo – Gaeta, Italy while a further 15 were built in cantieri Intermarine di Sarzana. The ships are armed with a 35 mm naval gun for coastal defense and patrol duties.
The ex-Italian Coast Guard (Guardia Costiera) 500-class patrol boats has a length of 10.40 meters with a displacement of 8,000 Kg. The boat has a maximum speed of 37 knots and a range of 220 nautical miles. The 500-class patrol boats are crewed by 3 personnel including 1 officer.
Recently, the Libyan National Army (LNA) commandeered an Offshore Patrol Vessel “Aisling” – a P21 class OPV, when it ventured into the port of Benghazi.