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NATO SHIPS ESCORTING ALLIED SHIPPING THROUGH STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR

NATO AFSOUTH Press Release

Naples, Italy – On Monday 10 March 2003, NATO maritime forces began escorting Allied civilian shipping through the Strait of Gibraltar. This is part of NATO's continuing support for the campaign against terrorism, and is a significant extension of the existing Operation Active Endeavour, which was launched following the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States.


The NATO Task Force in the Strait of Gibraltar is under the command of Rear Admiral Manuel Otero Peñuelas, Spanish Navy, embarked in the Flagship of NATO’s Standing Naval Force Atlantic, SPS Victoria. The remainder of the force is currently comprised of USS Halyburton, NRP Vasco da Gama, US and Portuguese Maritime Patrol Aircraft, and Spanish Fast Patrol Boats and helicopters operating from Rota, Spain.


The Task Force will maintain continuous operations through rotation of forces from NATO’s Standing Naval Force Atlantic and Standing Naval Force Mediterranean and Spanish Naval Forces. Operation Active Endeavour is commanded by Vice Admiral Ferdinando Sanfelice di Monteforte, Italian Navy, Commander Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe from his headquarters in Naples, Italy.


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's nations against the threat of terrorism.



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