LONDON--- A Force of NATO ships will make a historic 12,500 nautical mile circumnavigation around Africa on a two month deployment from August to October this year as part of NATO's commitment to global security. Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), one of NATO's four standing maritime forces, will sail from the Mediterranean on 4 August to the west coast of Africa and the Niger Delta. The latter region has seen many incidents in recent months, including kidnapping of oil workers and attacks on oil installations by criminal groups.
The multinational force comprising of six ships from six different NATO nations, Canada, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal and the United States will demonstrate the Alliance's commitment to upholding maritime security and international law. The deployment will also test NATO's logistics support systems foster closer links with some of the region's maritime forces and increase regional awareness.
The Force, under the command of Rear Admiral Mike Mahon, US Navy in the Flag Ship the USS Normandy, will sail around South Africa at the end of August, conducting exercises with the South African Navy and paying a four day visit to Cape Town at the beginning of September.
The final phase of the deployment will include exercises in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, an area in which the safe passage of vessels carrying aid and humanitarian assistance to that country has increasingly been disturbed by acts of piracy. During this phase the deployment will visit the Republic of the Seychelles in mid September and the deployment will end when they pass the Suez Canal.