Four non-NATO nations to join operation in Mediterranean
June 29, 2005
NAPLES, Italy — Four nations — Russia, Israel, Algeria and Ukraine — will be joining NATO efforts in the next 18 months to fight terrorism on the Mediterranean Sea.
The four non-NATO nations “have seen the value” of the allied-led Operation Active Endeavor and are in the process of training naval forces to contribute, said Italian Vice Adm. Ferdinando Sanfelice di Monteforte, the outgoing commander of Allied Maritime Component Command Naples.
On Tuesday, Sanfelice di Monteforte handed over command to Italian Vice Adm. Roberto Cessaretti.
Operation Active Endeavor was launched following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Russia’s desire to join the operation validates the effort and manpower dedicated to the maritime operations, while serving as a reminder that the Cold War is long past, said Sanfelice di Monteforte, who called Active Endeavor the highlight of his two-year service as commander.
As terrorists continue to change they way they operate, the U.S. military and its allies must also adjust; and the Naples unit is a prime example of a command led by a man who “develops new and creative ways to fight terrorists,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Harry Ulrich, commander of Allied Joint Force Command.
Ulrich was on hand for Tuesday’s change of command ceremony, which was held on the island of Nisida near Naples.
“In life, there are dreamers and doers. This admiral is a little of both,” Urlich said of Sanfelice di Monteforte.
Prevention has been the key to Active Endeavor’s success, which targets terrorists, human traffickers, and drug and weapons smugglers, the outgoing admiral said.
“Prevention is not glamorous and does not get you a lot of medals, but in the long run, it works,” Sanfelice di Monteforte said.
Eight countries permanently contribute sailors and ships to the Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 2, tasked with carrying out Operation Active Endeavor. Those countries are Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In the more than three years since the nations started patrolling the sea, more than 65,000 vessels have been hailed and questioned, and 92 merchant ships have been boarded, officials said.
For example, sailors stopped one ship that was hauling 680 tons of the highly explosive ammonia nitrate, and another with 22 kilos of heroine, Sanfelice di Monteforte said.