Operation "Sea Guardian" extended

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FAQs about the Mediterranean deployment Operation "Sea Guardian" extended

Germany's armed forces will continue to participate in NATO’s maritime security operation SEA GUARDIAN in the Mediterranean. The mandate is to be extended until the end of March 2024. The Bundestag still has to agree to the resolution.

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Soldiers on the task force supply ship "Bonn" monitoring the Mediterranean Sea.

Federal Armed Forces soldiers on the task force supply ship "Bonn": Security in the Mediterranean is of central importance to NATO. 

Photo: Federal Armed Forces/Tom Twardy

What has been decided?

The Federal Government has approved the continued participation of the Federal Armed Forces in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led maritime security operation "Sea Guardian". The mission will be extended until 31 March 2024. Anywhere up to 550 soldiers may be deployed.

What are the aims of the operation in the Mediterranean?

The Russian offensive against Ukraine highlights the importance of taking a 360-degree approach to securing the NATO area. Notwithstanding the shift of focus to NATO's eastern flank and to the North and Baltic Seas, the importance of a secure NATO southern flank and defence against terrorist organisations must not be neglected.

Given the critical importance of maritime transport and supply routes, the security of the Mediterranean is a key concern for NATO and its members. Under NATO’s leadership, Operation "Sea Guardian" is making a major contribution to this effort by helping to combat terrorism and arms smuggling in the Mediterranean. The operation will benefit the countries of the Mediterranean and those who use it.

What is "Sea Guardian" helping to achieve and how is the operation being carried out?

"Sea Guardian" is making a major contribution to maritime security in the Mediterranean by monitoring developments and supporting maritime situational awareness. The mission has the authority to stop, check and search ships anywhere in the operational area if they are suspected of being connected to a terrorist organisation.

The presence of military forces means the operation also has a preventative and deterrent effect, which will help reduce the dangers of terrorism and arms smuggling.

What is the legal basis for the deployment of troops?

Germany's deployment of forces to the Mediterranean has its legal basis in decisions taken by the North Atlantic Council.

Efforts to combat terrorism and arms smuggling in the Mediterranean are also based on resolutions taken by the United Nations Security Council. These include agreements on combating unlawful activity that poses a risk to the safety of maritime activity.

The deployment of German soldiers follows the rules of a system of mutual security as set out in Article 24, paragraph 2 of the Basic Law. Under international law, German forces are also obliged to go to the aid of those in peril at sea.

For further information, see the Federal Armed Forces website: Mediterranean – Sea Guardian