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NATO/WEU operation Sharp Guard - 15 Sep 95

Miscellaneous Directory

From: Franco Veltri <>



To conduct operations to monitor and enforce compliance with UN sanctions in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 713, 757, 787 , 820 and 943. Combined Task Force 440, in particular, prevents all unauthorized shipping from entering the territorial waters of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and all arms from entering the former Yugoslavia.

The joint NATO/WEU Operation SHARP GUARD began on 15 June 1993 replacing the separate NATO and WEU operations; MARITIME GUARD and SHARP FENCE.


The overall operational control is delegated to Admiral Mario Angeli, Italian Navy, as Commander, Combined Task Force 440 (CCTF 440). He is assisted by Rear Admiral Gianfranco Coviello, Italian Navy, as Deputy CCTF 440. Admiral Angeli is the Commander of Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe. As CCTF 440, his staff has been complemented by a WEU staff element.

Surface ships operate within two operational combined task groups (CTG) at sea while conducting operations in the Adriatic sea. A third task group has responsibility for ships conducting training or port visits. Operational responsibilities rotate among the task group commanders. Currently these are:

Operational Task Groups: 440.01 - Rear Admiral Alexandre Rodrigues,PO Navy 440.02 - Rear Admiral Franco D'Agostino,Italian Navy

Training Task Group: 440.03 - Commodore Frank Ropers, US Navy.

Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) operate under operational control of CCTF 440 through the Commander of Combined Task Force 431, Rear Admiral John R. Ryan, US Navy.


After the UN Security Council strengthened the embargo against Serbia and Montenegro with resolution 820 in April 1993, no ship has been able to break the embargo and six ships have been caught while attempting to do so.


Nations contributing forces at the moment are: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States. Belgium and Norway have participated in the past, and are expected to continue their support for the Operation.


SURFACE SHIPS: HDMS Niels Juel (F 354), frigate (Denmark) FS Quartier Maitre Anquetil (F 786), frigate (France) FS Iean Bart (D 615), destroyer (France) FGS Emden (F 210), frigate (Germany) FGS Rheinland-Pfalz (FFG 209 ), frigate (Germany) HS Elli (FFG 450), frigate (Greece) ITS Euro (F 575), frigate (Italy) ITS Fenice (F 557), corvette (Italy) ITS Luigi Durand De La Penne (D 560), destroyer (Italy) HNLMS Jacob Van Heemskerck (F 812), frigate (The Netherlands) HNLMS Jan Van Brakel (F 825), frigate (The Netherlands) HNLMS Pieter Florisz (F826), Frigate (The Netherlands) NRP Alvares Cabral (F 331), frigate (Portugal) SPS Numancia (FFG 83) , frigate (Spain) SPS Extremadura (F 75), frigate (Spain) TCG Ege (FFG 256), frigate (Turkey) HMS Orangeleaf (A 110), support ship (United Kingdom) HMS Glasgow (D 88), destroyer (United Kingdom) HMS Battleaxe (FFG 89), frigate (United Kingdom) USS Boone (FFG 28), frigate (United States) USS Nicholas (FFG 47), frigate (United States) USS Monterey (CGN 61), cruiser (United States)


Eight Italian Air Force Tornado aircraft support Operation Sharp Guard from their base at Gioia del Colle. These aircraft contribute to the defense of ships from attacks by surface ships. Other aircraft from allied forces operating in the area also contribute to this support.


Continuous MPA support to the naval forces of CTF 440 is provided by assets from eight NATO nations: France (Atlantique), Germany (Atlantique), Italy (Atlantique), The Netherlands (P-3C), Portugal (P-3P), Spain (P-3B), UK (Nimrod), and the US (P-3C). The above aircraft operate from the airbases at Sigonella (Sicily) and Elmas (Sardinia), in Italy.


Eight E-3A and two E-3D from NATO's Airborne Early Warning Force (NAEWF) are supporting Operation "Sharp Guard", as well as NATO Operation "Deny Flight". The E-3A aircraft operate from Geilenkirchen, Germany, Aviano (Italy), Trapani (Italy) and Preveza (Greece) and are flown by multi-national crews provided by 11 NATO nations. The E-3D aircraft from the UK's Number 8 Squadron fly from RAF Waddington (UK) as well as Aviano and Trapani. French E-3F aircraft participating under the auspices of the WEU operate from either Avord (France) or Trapani.


During the period 22 November 1992 to 14 September 1995, NATO and WEU forces have challenged, boarded or diverted to a port for inspection the following numbers of merchant vessels :

Challenged = 59,598 Boarded and inspected at sea = 4,590 Diverted and inspected in port = 1,272

These results have been achieved by:

Ship days spent at sea = 10,670 Maritime Patrol Aircraft sorties = 7,530 NATO and French Airborne Early Warning Aircraft sorties = 5,412 Note: The period 22 November 1992 to 15 June 1993 was under separate NATO and WEU operations: Respectively MARITIME GUARD and SHARP FENCE.


In July, 1992, forces operating under NATO and WEU, working closely together, began monitoring compliance in the Adriatic Sea with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council against the former Yugoslavia. The two separate operations were called respectively Maritime Monitor and Sharp Vigilance. On 22 November, 1992, both operations were amplified in scope to include the enforcement of relevant UN resolutions which included the commencement of boarding and search operations. The operations were then renamed MARITIME GUARD and SHARP FENCE.

On 8 June 1993 the Councils of NATO and the WEU, at a joint session, reviewed the embargo operations and approved a combined concept of operations for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 820, which strengthened the existing embargoes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). This concept included a single command and control arrangement for the combined operation "SHARP GUARD" under the authority of the councils of both organizations.

The operation began on 15 June 1993.

(15 September 1995)

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