The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) Maritime Task Force (MTF) participated in a search and rescue operation at sea after receiving reports on Wednesday 10 October of a missing boat off the coast of Lebanon.
UNIFIL was informed that a small boat, allegedly heading towards Cyprus, was missing. UNIFIL tasked its Maritime Force to locate the missing vessel. On 11 October at 1130 hrs, UNIFIL’s flagship, BRS Liberal, found a small white boat northwest of Beirut in the area of responsibility of Rescue Coordinator Center Beirut.
There were 32 passengers on board: 19 men, six women and seven children. The boat was out of fuel and the passengers had been without food and water for four days.
While waiting for the Lebanese Navy to arrive, UNIFIL naval peacekeepers distributed water and food, and provided medical assistance. After the Lebanese Navy arrived at the scene, the passengers were able to board the Lebanese patrol boats and arrived at Beirut port at 0145 hrs on Friday 12 October, escorted by UNIFIL.
UNIFIL Maritime Task Force is the first and only naval force to be part of a UN peacekeeping mission. It has been deployed at the request of the Lebanese Government to assist the Lebanese Navy in securing the territorial waters and to help prevent the unauthorized entry of arms or related material by sea into Lebanon. In addition, the Maritime Task Force has been working jointly with the Lebanese Navy to strengthen the latter's capabilities to secure its maritime borders and assume effective security control over Lebanese territorial waters.
UNIFIL Maritime Task Force has also taken part in several humanitarian efforts in the past when called upon.