Italy has provided the MFO's Coastal Patrol Unit (CPU) since 1982. The mission of the CPU is to observe and report Treaty-related activities at sea, thus providing naval operational support of the MFO mission. In accordance with Article V of the Treaty and the Protocol, the CPU also conducts naval patrols in the Strait of Tiran and its approaches to ensure that freedom of navigation is maintained.
The Italian Contingent, consists of seventy eight sailors and marines and is commanded by a Navy Commander. All personnel are part of the CPU except one Officer who works as the Senior Staff Officer for Naval Matters and another that works in the Liaison branch.At any one time, the CPU operates three Esploratore-class patrol vessels constructed specifically with the MFO mission in mind. Four vessels - the ITS Esploratore (P405), ITS Sentinella (P406), ITS Vedetta (P407), and ITS Staffetta (P408) - are part of a rotational cycle of deployment that returns one vessel to Brindisi, Italy for periodic maintenance.
During the period March 2004-2007, Italy also provided the MFO's Force Commander, MG Roberto Martinelli.
- Provides a maritime presence in its assigned area of operations, averaging 360 hours per month, using one or more of its three ships. Not less than thirty percent of total patrolling time is at night.
- Maintains at all times one ship "on task" and one "on reserve", ready to sail in less than two hours. The on task ship is either at sea or moored at the CPU compound on two hours’ notice to sail. The reserve ship is moored at the CPU compound.
- Maintains a twenty-four hour watch at the CPU Operations Center that ensures constant contact with the Force operations section.
- Enhances operational readiness and mission effectiveness in the Southern sector of MFO operations through a number of cross and joint training exercise with other contingents, such as evacuation by sea and search and rescue. The substantial amount of joint exercises and their nature provide a better understanding of Force operations within the framework of the MFO mission.
- During an average year, CPU performs maintenance and repair activities on board its ships to maintain required readiness. In addition, annually, a ship undergoes a period of maintenance at a shipyard in Italy for dry-docking and required overhauls.
Displacement: 181 tons
Length: 37 meters
Width: 7 meters
Draught: 2 meters
Max speed: 20 Kt.
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