From AFP: NATO on Monday launched operation Ocean Shield to help fight rampant piracy off the Horn of Africa after the alliance’s North Atlantic Council approved the mission, it said in a statement.

“No timeframe has been set for this long-term operation, which will last as long as it’s deemed necessary,” Major Stefano Sbaccanti, a spokesman from the alliance’s Joint Command Lisbon, told AFP.

It takes over from NATO’s sea-based operation Allied Protector, launched last year, but with a new mandate to also “assist regional states, upon their request, in developing their own ability to combat piracy,” a statement said. (photo: NATO)