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Operation Endeavour

Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the command of Operation Endeavour; [112008](2) what contribution

(a) the UK and (b) Spain is making to Operation Endeavour; and if he will make a statement. [112010]

NATO's maritime Operation Active Endeavour was mounted as a part of NATO's Article 5 response following the World Trade Centre attacks in 2001. The operation now covers the entire Mediterranean, with NATO warships conducting surveillance and interdiction operations in the east, and those working in the west, ie the Straits of Gibraltar, conducting monitoring, surveillance and escorting duties.Command of the Operation is exercised through the NATO Command Structure. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) exercises command through the Joint Force Commander, the Commander in Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH) based in Naples. Day to day command of the operation is exercised by the local Maritime Component Commander, Commander Naval Forces Southern Europe, again based in Naples.The United Kingdom and Spain have participated in the operation since its outset, primarily through the deployment of NATO's Standing Naval Forces.Currently, the UK commits two ships to the operation, HMS Cornwall and HMS Northumberland. Command of the formations rotates between the NATO Nations; currently the UK is commanding Standing Naval Forces Atlantic, which is conducting the eastern element of the operation, from HMS Cornwall, while a Spanish officer commands the western element from SPS Extramadura. This ship is in lieu of her Standing Naval Force commitment, and is supported by a Spanish corvette, or fast patrol boat and a helicopter operating from ashore.