Safeguarding the Seas

NATO Delivers: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

  • 18 May. 2012 - 07 Jul. 2012
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  • Last updated: 18 May. 2012 19:09

The world population relies on the seas and oceans for international commerce, as a source of food and for vital supplies of oil and natural gas. It is NATO’s responsibility to help protect international commerce and its member countries’ maritime resources from potential threats, as well as from possible attacks upon their territory that may come from the sea.

Since August 2009, NATO ships patrol the waters off the Horn of Africa as part of Operation Ocean Shield. Their mission is to contribute to international efforts to counter maritime piracy. Operation Ocean Shield cooperates closely with other naval forces including US-led maritime forces, EU naval forces and national organizations operating against the threat of piracy in the region.

To this end, NATO is involved in several operations to increase maritime safety and security. 

Operation Active Endeavour
Operation Active Endeavour is a maritime surveillance operation led by NATO’s naval forces to detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity in the Mediterranean through monitoring, patrolling, escorting and compliant boarding. The operation, NATO’s only Article 5 operation on anti-terrorism, evolved out of NATO’s immediate response to the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001 and, in view of its success, is being continued.

Counter-piracy Operations
Piracy continues to be a serious security threat. NATO is actively engaged in combating piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Horn of Africa – in line with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and in close cooperation with other key organizations and countries involved.  Due to this cooperation, the number of successful pirate attacks has been reduced by almost half, from 2010 to 2011.