By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 1 September:
Last week, the Armed Forces of Malta Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘P61’, arrived at the Libyan Naval Base . . .[restrict]in Tripoli. The P61 was carrying a total of 46 men from the Maritime Squadron, 1 Regiment and EOD operatives from the 3rd Regiment of the Armed Forces of Malta.
Libyan high ranking Naval Officers were waiting on the pier to welcome the Maritime Squadron’s flag ship. They were welcomed onboard by Lt.Col Andrew Mallia and the Captain of P61, Captain R. Caruana.
The objective of the visit was to conduct training with the Libyan Navy and establish positive military to military relations. Training included joint diving activities, ship boarding drills and various seamanship evolutions.
Speaking to me on board the P61 Lt.Col Andrew Mallia, who admitted that he was a Libya Herald reader, commented that he was, ‘pleasantly surprised by the capabilities of the Libyans who were as good if not better than us in some areas’.
Commenting about the importance of the training he said that ‘the most important thing is the inter-operability – so that when we meet at sea, we know how to operate’.
‘We conduct a lot of training with the Mediterranean countries as part of the 5+5 group’, he explained.
This is the first occasion that such bilateral Maltese-Libyan training has occurred since the beginning of the new administration in the post February 17th Libya.
In the evening the Armed Forces of Malta hosted a reception on board P61 for various Libyan dignitaries on behalf of the Maltese Ambassador to Libya. [/restrict]