European Union's Operation IRINI held on last Saturday a ceremony for the change of Force Commander on board of the new flagship HS Aegean, chaired by the Operation Commander Rear Admiral Stefano Turchetto.

Commodore Stylianos Dimopoulos of the Hellenic Navy has taken over the Command Authority of the European Naval Force operating in the Central Mediterranean from the Italian Rear Admiral Fabrizio Rutteri, IRINI said on its website.

It added that the Force Commander has tactical control of ships, aircraft and logistic facilities in the area of operations.

"On the same day, the Italian Ship ITS Libeccio was replaced by the Hellenic Ship HS Aegean as flagship of the Naval Force." It added.

Commodore Dimopoulos becomes the Force Commander after being appointed by the EU Political and Security Committee. He already worked with the Operation Commander having served in the last six months as Chief of his Staff in the IRINI Operation Headquarters (OHQ) in Rome.

"The Flagships, the positions of IRINI Force Commander and the position of Chief of Staff in the OHQ are assigned on a six-monthly rotation between Italy and Greece." The operation added.