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With about 1,300 peacekeepers serving for peace with UNIFIL, Indonesia is the largest of the 41 troop-contributing countries to the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. While the vast majority of these Indonesian peacekeepers work on land to further peace in south Lebanon, about 100 of them, attached to the Mission’s Maritime Task Force (MTF), spend most of their time at sea.
Sub Lieutenant Mohamad Chandra says the Indonesian Navy personnel at sea perform two main tasks: conducting maritime interdiction operations and surveillance of the Lebanese territorial waters.
“Our additional job here is to train the Lebanese Armed Forces Navy to make them well prepared and more experienced,” commented Sub Lt Chandra during a training exercise carried out onboard the Indonesian vessel “SULTAN HASANUDDIN” off the coast of Beirut recently.
Indonesia joined UNIFIL MTF in 2009, three years after the establishment of the first and only naval operation of the UN Peacekeeping. It is one of six countries contributing to the UNIFIL MTF.
Established in October 2006 at the request of the Government of Lebanon, UNIFIL MTF currently has about 750 personnel and six ships: one each from Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Greece, Indonesia and Turkey. UNIFIL MTF supports the LAF Navy in preventing the unauthorized entry of arms or related materiel by sea into Lebanon. Its mission also focuses on capacity building of Lebanon’s navy to control and protect their seaways and territorial waters.
Since 2006, UNIFIL’s naval peacekeepers have hailed about 90,000 ships and about 12,000 have been referred to LAF Navy for inspection.