Under Operation Active Endeavour, NATO ships are patrolling the Mediterranean and monitoring shipping to help detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity.
NATO forces have hailed over 100,000 merchant vessels and boarded some 155 suspect ships. By conducting these maritime operations against terrorist activity, NATO’s presence in these waters has benefited all shipping traveling through the Straits by improving perceptions of security. NATO is helping to keep seas safe, protect shipping and control suspect vessels. Moreover, this operation is also enabling NATO to strengthen its relations with partner countries, especially those participating in the Alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue.
Operation Active Endeavour is NATO’s only article 5 operation on anti-terrorism initiated as support to the United States immediately after 9/11. It therefore aims to demonstrate NATO's solidarity and resolve in the fight against terrorism and to help detect and deter terrorist activity in the Mediterranean.
As the Alliance has refined its counter-terrorism role in the intervening years, the operation’s mandate has been regularly reviewed and its remit extended. The experience that NATO has accrued in Active Endeavour has given the Alliance unparalleled expertise in the deterrence of maritime terrorist activity in the Mediterranean Sea. This expertise is relevant to wider international efforts to combat terrorism and, in particular, the proliferation and smuggling of weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhanced cooperation with non-NATO countries and civilian agencies.
Operation Active Endeavour started being conducted from Maritime Command Northwood (MARCOM) on the 22nd February, after being handed over from Joint Force Command Naples.