Operation Active Endeavour
Launched in Oct 2001, Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), is a mission to conduct maritime operations in the Mediterranean Sea intended to deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorist activity. OAE not only demonstrates NATO's resolve but is a vivid example of the added value that NATO can bring to the complex, global fight against terrorism.
Operation Active Endeavour (OEA) is one aspect of NATO's multi-faceted response to the terrorist threat and is the only current operation conducted by the Alliance under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty (collective self defence). As the Alliance has refined its counter-terrorism role in the intervening years, the operation's mandate has been regularly reviewed, revised and its remit extended.
50 Countries contribute to an information sharing network.
More than 100,000 merchant ships have been contacted and 160 boarded at sea.
488 vessels were escorted through the Strait of Gibraltar (February 2003 - March 2004).
7000 Merchant vessels are using one of world's key strategic waterways at any time.
OAE was initially designed as an operation utilizing ships, aircraft and submarines of the two Standing NATO Maritime Groups in rotation. These Forces conduct presence and surveillance activities including the hailing, and compliant boarding, of selected vessels. The current modus operandi for OAE is to gather and process information and intelligence to build a picture of all maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea with a selective focus on particular Contacts of Interest. Building on the experience developed over the years, the operation is becoming network-based and no longer relies on permanently assigned units. However, it continues to conduct ‘surge' operations and remains prepared to carry out at-sea inspections. New technologies, exploitation of developments in surveillance and information sharing capabilities, closer cooperation and information sharing with Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries have enabled this transition. A combination of surge operations and standby units will replace permanently deployed forces. We continue to develop arrangements and protocols for the exchange of information between NATO and non-NATO contributing nations, Law Enforcement Agencies, International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations in order to enhance the effectiveness of this important mission.