The prosecutor’s office of the Netherlands on Wednesday said it has launched a criminal investigation into a Dutch shipping company allegedly breaking the arms exports embargo to Libya.
On Oct. 11, the shipping company, from the Dutch city of Groningen, attempted a transfer of armed vehicles to Libya, but the vessel it used, the MV Meerdijk, was intercepted by an IRINI mission ship off the coast of North Africa.
The mission’s inspectors found 41 UAE-manufactured armoured all-terrain vehicles of the BATT UMG type loaded aboard.
The cargo was initially destined to be delivered to Libya’s coastal city of Benghazi, controlled by Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar. Upon discovery, the vehicles were confiscated.
The UN committee in charge of the arms embargo on Libya expressed the opinion that the company broke the sanctions.
The United Nations pointed to the fact that the company lacked an “end-user declaration,” an important document for shipping military goods.
However, the Dutch firm argued it had all the necessary documentation.
In March 2020, the EU launched Operation IRINI, to contribute to the implementation of the UN arms embargo against Libya.
According to the EU, the mission is mandated to track illegal arms shipments to and from Libya, as well as monitor and gather information on illicit exports from Libya of energy sources, and share the information collected with the UN.
To track illegal arms shipments across Libya’s land borders and by air, the EU uses satellites and aerial surveillance.