Ceremony is held as Regele Ferdinand frigate leaves on mission

President Traian Basescu on Friday took part in a ceremony held in the Black Sea port of Constanta as The Regele Ferdinand frigate was leaving for NATO's Unified Protector operation aimed at enforcing an arms embargo on Libya, with the head of state underscoring this is an important mission of the Romanian Navy meant to curb the number of victims in the civil war in Libya.

"It is for the first time since World War Two that the Romanian Naval Forces are engaged in a real combat mission. It is a mission resulting from the United Nations' Security Council resolution, from the resolution of the Romanian Supreme Defence Council. An important mission that has as its first and foremost goal to reduce the number of the victims in the civil war in Libya, by the ban you will have to enforce on the arms imports by sea", Basescu said.

He stressed the mission The Regele Ferdinand will take part in will contribute to saving human lives, while at the same time being a mission accomplished in the name of Romania.

"Romania now has the capability to project its forces not only on land, but its naval forces too at a distance from its territorial waters. It is a positive development of the Romanian Army's combat capability and it is high time the Navy, but the mission they carry out, confirmed that all types of forces are capable of fulfilling NATO missions", the Romanian leader added.

Basescu underscored that the Romanian Army is being highly praised on the Afghanistan front, it was highly praised in Iraq and the Romanian Air Forces provided the air patrol system for the Baltic states in the last years.

"Today, the Romanian Navy is called to an important mission in the Mediterranean. The name of the ship sends us back to history, while at the same time projecting us forward. The Ferdinand destroyer was one of the ships to have earned glory in World War Two, today The Ferdinand frigate must continue the Romanian Navy's tradition", Basescu said in addressing the ship captain and crew.

Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea, in turn, said that the Romanian Army, by its participation in the new mission of the Unified Protector operation, reconfirms Romania's status of an important vector of regional security and of regional stability provider, by acting where the national interests and the pledged international commitments call it.

"I want to assure the entire crew of the frigate of my esteem and respect in my capacity of national defence minister, for the efforts made and for their training to the highest standards in a short time, so that we should be able to report the Romanian President - the Armed Forces commander-in-chief - today that the National Defence Ministry is ready to begin carrying out the mission. All the professionals acting in the ship crew and in the entire command chain know what they have to do in detail and they have the determination to successfully fulfil this new mission", Oprea said.

The frigate, commanded by Commodore Mihai Panait will carry a crew of 205 sailors and conduct embargo enforcement missions in the Mediterranean Sea. Aboard the frigate are also two officers of the Romanian Navy who will become part of the General Staff of the NATO Allied Maritime Command based in the Mediterranean.

The Regele Ferdinand frigate took part in the Active Endeavour operation in the Mediterranean in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010, where it carried out specific missions aimed to prevent and combat terrorism and illegal trafficking, alongside other ships and forces under NATO command.

Source: Romanian National News Agency AGERPRES


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