Operation Allied Protector
From March to August 2009, NATO launched Operation Allied Protector, a counter-piracy operation, to improve the safety of commercial maritime routes and international navigation off the Horn of Africa. The force conducted surveillance tasks and provided protection to deter and suppress piracy and armed robbery, which are threatening sea lines of communication and economic interests.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC) has agreed that NATO will continue to contribute to international community efforts to counter piracy off the Horn of Africa. The aim of the mission is to enhance the safety of commercial maritime routes and international navigation in the area. The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) under the command of Commodore Steve Chick assumed responsibility from SNMG1 on 29 June 2009.
Piracy and armed robbery off the Horn of Africa are a significant concern to the international community, nations, non-governmental and commercial organisations. A number of these countries and organisations have committed themselves to prevent piracy threatening sea lines of communications and economic interests.
As maritime standing elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF), the Standing NATO Maritime Groups are a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied nations. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform various tasks from participating in exercises designed to test readiness and foster interoperability of Allied Armed Forces, to actually intervening in operational missions.