The NATO Shipping Centre has been in operation since 2001, and is the point of contact between NATO naval forces and the merchant shipping community. It is also the primary advisor to merchant shipping regarding potential risks and possible interference with maritime operations and major exercises.
Having received a briefing on the new website, the Commander of MC Northwood, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar said, “Piracy is a serious threat for the shipping community and anything that can be done to deal with and overcome this issue is to be welcomed. The NATO Shipping Centre has listened to their users and responded to their needs with a new, more interactive and relevant website demonstrating that NATO and the shipping community are working together to tackle the scourge of piracy.”
NATO has contributed to the international counter-piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector. In addition to these activities and as part of the latest mission, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.
Over the past few months, the NATO Shipping Centre has developed a range of new products to ensure that the shipping community has the most up-to-date information only a click away. Among the new products is a fully scalable map covering the Gulf of Aden, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean, plotting the latest pirate attacks. This will serve as an important tool allowing vessels to avoid pirate hot spots, or at least be better prepared in the event of a pirate attack.
To visit the website, go to: www.shipping.nato.int