• 13 Jul 2007 - MCC HQ Northwood
    NATO maritime force circumnavigation of Africa (.DOC/97kb)

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  • Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 Africa 2007 - Deployment brochure (.PDF/97kb)
30 Jul 2007

NATO naval force sets sail for Africa

A NATO maritime mission involving ships from six member countries set sail for a historic 12 500 nautical mile circumnavigation of the African continent on July 30.

The mission aims to highlight NATO's capability to uphold security and international law on the high seas.

First stop Nigeria

Ships from Canada, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal and the United States, forming NATO's Standing Naval Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), one of NATO's four standing maritime forces will sail from the Mediterranean Sea to the west coast of Africa and on to the Niger Delta as part of the two-month mission.

The Niger Delta has seen an increase in incidents involving kidnapping of oil workers and attacks on oil instillations by criminal gangs.

The ships will also make port in South Africa, where US Rear Admiral Mike Mahon, who commands the NATO maritime task force, on board the flagship USS Normandy, will conduct exercises for the first time with South African Navy ships and will visit Cape Town, as part of a four day visit to South Africa.

The NATO mission will also conduct exercises in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Somalia, an area frequently affected by acts of piracy, and where vessels carrying aid shipments have been the victims of pirate attacks.

A priority for NATO

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said ensuring maritime security on the high seas, in international waters was a key mission for the 26-country Alliance.

“Maritime security, ensuring the safe passage of shipping and supporting a coordinated international approach to protect energy supplies are high priorities for NATO,” the Secretary General said. 

During the final phase of the mission, the ships will visit the Republic of the Seychelles in mid-September and end their mission after passing through the Suez Canal.

The deployment will demonstrate the Alliance’s continuing ability to respond to emerging crisis situations on a global scale and foster close links with regional navies and other maritime organisations.