Operation Ocean Shield represents NATO’s contribution to international efforts to conduct counter-piracy activities off the coasts of Somalia and in the Horn of Africa.
The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council on 17 August 2009 as an evolution of the previous Operation Allied Protector (March-August 2009), whose aim was to contribute to the safety of commercial maritime routes and international navigation, providing maritime security in the region and is helping to reduce the overall pirate attack success rate. In order to respond to new piracy tactics, NATO has created greater synergies with other initiatives and International Organizations, recognized the continued need for regional capacity-building, within means and capabilities, and focused on areas where it provides its support to maintain an acceptable security level.
NATO is in full complementarity with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and with actions against piracy initiated by other actors, such as the European Union.
The Italian Navy participates in NATO’s two Immediate Reaction Forces: the Standing NATO Maritime Groups composed of the SNMG1 and the SNMG2.