|Updated: 02-Apr-2003||March 2003|
NATO begins escorting Allied shipping
On 10 March, NATO maritime forces began escorting designated merchant ships from NATO member countries through the Straits of Gibraltar, as part of the Alliance’s continuing support for the campaign against terrorism.
The Alliance decided to expand its naval operations in response to recent assessments of terrorist threats to particular shipping lanes. This new mission is a significant extension of the existing Operation Active Endeavour, which was launched following the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The escorts are conducted by ships from NATO’s Standing Naval Force Atlantic, the Standing Naval Force Mediterranean and Spanish Naval Forces. The task force is commanded by Rear Admiral Manuel Otero Peñuelas, Spanish Navy.
Under Operation Active Endeavour, NATO air and naval forces have been carrying out patrolling and surveillance activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Apart from demonstrating NATO's resolve in the face of terrorist threats, Operation Active Endeavour has already played a significant role in enhancing security in the Eastern Mediterranean. This new mission will help further safeguard the ships of NATO member countries against the threat of terrorism.