Operation Ocean Shield, Nato’s anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa, has been extended until the end of 2012, according to Nato spokesman James Appathurai.

Appathurai said the new mandate, launched in mid-2009, was based on the assessment of the anti-piracy mission, a demonstrable contribution to the anti-piracy fight in the Gulf of Aden, according to terradaily.com.

A new fleet of warships from the UK, Greece, Italy, Turkey and the US will be deployed for a six month period, ensuring a continuous presence in the fight against piracy in the region.

Operation Ocean Shield, which began on 17 August 2009, endeavours to fight the threat based on the broad strength of the alliance by adopting a more comprehensive approach to counter-piracy efforts.