NATO returns to counter piracy mission

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NATO ships will resume their counter piracy mission earlier than planned and will make their way back to the Gulf of Aden this week.

With the great increase in pirate attacks, and the ensuing international concern, NATO’s recent contribution to the international counter piracy effort has been significant. NATO nations have revised their plan for Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), cancelling their port visits to Singapore and Australia and directed the Group to continue its important counter piracy mission, Operation Allied Protector, in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa. This mission will now patrol these dangerous waters until 28 June.

Cdr Chris Davies, Chief Public Affairs Officer at MCC Northwood said: “There is now a global recognition that piracy is a cancer and NATO intends to play its part in countering the effects of these criminal activities. Using NATO’s 60 years of experience in alliance building, SNMG1 will recommence its cooperation and coordination with other actors in the area.”

Regarding a longer-term solution – at the Strasbourg summit on 4 April, NATO leaders stated: “The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia plays an important role in order to facilitate coordination among all actors involved. Addressing the root causes of piracy requires a comprehensive approach by the international community. We are considering options for a possible long-term NATO role to combat piracy, including by taking into account, as appropriate, regional requests for maritime capacity-building.”