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Activity surge at NSC since launch of counter piracy mission

Activity surge at NSC since launch of counter piracy mission

Brussels: The NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) has reported a 20% increase in position and movement reports coming in from ships sailing through the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa area since the start of the NATO counter piracy mission, Operation Allied Protector.

The reports are based on a voluntary reporting system covering the Mediterranean, expanded to include the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in November 2008.

"We are really pleased with the way the scheme has been received," said Lt Cdr Mark Hornung, Head of NSC. "The number of calls and emails we have received from ships transiting through the Mediterranean and down through the Gulf of Aden demonstrates the need for our system."

The NSC is NATO's permanent point of contact for the international shipping community to share information. It collates information from a range of sources including the shipping community, other commercial sources and reports - providing the NSC with a unique and comprehensive overview of shipping in the Mediterranean and Gulf of Aden.

"We were ready for the expected increase in work," said Cdr Stein Hagalid, NSC Branch Head. "The NSC has worked with the maritime shipping community for the last 9 years. We have built up a lot of expertise and contacts and are confident that we will be able to contribute to NATO's effort in countering piracy and armed robbery attacks."

For the past seven years, the NSC has played an key role contributing to NATO's counter terrorism operation, Operation Allied Endeavour, by providing information, guidance and advice to merchant shipping on the ongoing Article 5 operation that has significantly deterred the illegal transportation of weapons and ammunition through the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean.  [02/04/09]

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