NATO ships transit Suez Canal en-route to counter piracy operation

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Five ships, from four NATO navies, transited the Suez Canal yesterday on their way to conduct counter piracy operations in the Gulf region.

Earlier this month, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) agreed that NATO will contribute to international community efforts to counter piracy off the Horn of Africa. OPERATION ALLIED PROTECTOR aims to enhance the safety of commercial maritime routes and international navigation in the area.

Standing NATO Maritime Group ONE (SNMG1), will conduct maritime operations off the Horn of Africa in order to counter piracy attacks, and to help deter, defend against and disrupt pirate activities in the area of operations, in conjunction and coordination with other nations and organizations involved.

The five ships expected to participate are:
• NRP Côrte Real (flagship, Portugal)
• HMCS Winnipeg (Canada)
• HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (Netherlands)
• ESPS Blas de Lezo (Spain)
• USS Halyburton (United States of America)

The SNMG1 Task Force will begin its mission upon arrival in the area of operations, later this month.

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