Ireland donates its recently-decommissioned LE Aoife to the Maltese armed forces. Its role will be to assist in the Mediterranean refugee rescues. In exchange, the Maltese armed forces must cooperate with Ireland in military exercises and handling defence matters.
The transfer of LE Aoife from the Irish Naval Service would also include personnel training. Maltese military personnel will be sent to Ireland to attend a joint training mission
Ireland Minister for Defence Simon Coveney and Malta Minister For Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela attended a meeting of EU defence ministers in Riga. They agreed to cooperate more closely with each other.
Coveney explained that Malta needed a new ship to assist in the patrolling of the Mediterranean Sea.
“Recent tragic events in that part of the Mediterranean have underlined the significant challenges which need to be addressed by the international community and Ireland is very keen to play an active part in this regard,” Mr Coveney said.
“The refugee crisis represents a significant challenge for the EU and that while Ireland was not in the front line of the response to the crisis we were pleased to be in a position to support the response in this manner,” he added.