MONS, Belgium, March 19 (UPI) -- The North Atlantic Council has approved a mandate to resume a NATO deployment to the Gulf of Aden in a move to counter the ongoing threat of piracy.
With the announced approval, NATO's five-ship operation patrolling the waters off the coast of Somalia will continue. Operation Allied Protector is part of an effort by the international community to restore safety to a major shipping lane that passes by the Horn of Africa where pirates have taken an increasing number of cargo ships hostage, NATO reported.
The deployment, part of NATO's Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, includes ships from Canada, Netherlands, Spain, the United States and Portugal. The unit will resume counter-piracy operations at the end of March.
"In this era of globalization, economic security is inextricably linked to physical security," Gen. John Craddock, NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, said in a statement.
"This operation demonstrates the continuing importance of the NATO alliance in addressing our collective security concerns."