A ceremony which marked the frigate “Regele Ferdinand”’s embarking on the “Unified Protector” NATO operation to impose an arms embargo against Libya took place, last Friday, in Constanta, attended by President Traian Basescu and other officials, including the National Defence Minister, Gabriel Oprea, as well as dozens of other people, family members and friends of the military who will take part in the mission. After the playing of the state anthem, President Traian Basescu reviewed the honour guard. Then, after the order for this operation was read out, a synod of priests, headed by the Holy Teodosie, Archbishop of Tomis, performed a mass.
The head of state argued that “for the first time since World War II, the Romanian navy fleet engages in a real fighting mission, an important mission, meant to reduce the number of casualties in the civil war in Libya”.
“It is an important mission, nearly a humanitarian one. Every weapon delivery to Libya that is stopped will result in saving lives,” Basescu stated. According to the latter, the respective mission is also a mission on Romania’s behalf. Basescu argued that this marked a positive evolution of the Romanian army’s fighting capacity. “It is time the Navy proved that all army forces are capable to carry out NATO missions. The Romanian army is highly appreciated in Afghanistan, held in high regard in Iraq, (…) and today our Navy is called upon to join an important mission in Libya,” the head of state added.
In turn, Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea argued that “Regele Ferdinand” frigate was “an excellent ambassador of Romania,” voicing his “appreciation and respect” for the military who managed to train at high standards in a very short period of time, before embarking on this mission. The minister told the military he was well aware of the sacrifices they were making and that every day at sea was a confrontation with one’s own limits. He wished them good luck in this mission and a safe return.
The frigate, led by the commander Mihai Panait, will carry aboard, for this mission, a crew made up of 205 sailors, as well as two Navy officers.