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Operation Maritime Guard
Part of the NATO intervention in Bosnia
USS Theodore Roosevelt at sea.jpg
USS Theodore Roosevelt, which participated in Operation Maritime Guard.
Objective Blockade Yugoslavia.
Date November 22, 1992 - 1993
Executed by  NATO

Operation Maritime Guard was a NATO blockade, in the international waters of the Adriatic Sea, of the former Yugoslavia.[1][2][3]


The operation began on November 22, 1992.[4][5] It followed NATO Operation Maritime Monitor, and was in support of UN Security Council Resolution 787, which called upon states acting individually or otherwise to enforce the UN embargoes of the rump Yugoslavia ("calls upon States ... to use such measures commensurate with the specific circumstances as may be necessary" to enforce the embargo).[1][2][4][6][7] It authorized NATO to use force, and included stopping, inspecting, and diverting ships bound for the former Yugoslavia.[5][8] All ships bound to or coming from the territorial waters of the former Yugoslavia were halted for inspection and verification of their cargoes and destinations.[9]

With support from Turkey, the Netherlands, and Germany, the operation was strengthened to allow for NATO aircraft to shoot down aircraft that violated the blockade.[10] An article in the academic journal International Affairs stated that Operation Maritime Guard was: "the first authorized use of force to back a UN Security Council resolution".[11]

In April 1993, a NATO official said that warships would shoot if necessary to stop a ship to enforce the blockade, with inert munitions which could include machine gun bullets and armor-piercing cannon shells.[12][13]

Forces and results

The USS Kauffman.

The blockade comprised destroyers from Turkey, Italy, Germany, Greece, and the United Kingdom, and frigates from the United States and the Netherlands, assisted by NATO Maritime Patrol Aircraft.[14][15] The USS Kauffman (FFG-59) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) were among the warships that took part in the operation.[16][17] AWACS supported the effort with its sophisticated maritime radar by providing blockading ships with long-range sea surveillance coverage.[18] The blockade was directed by the Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe, U.S. Admiral Mike Boorda.[1] Under the blockade, 12,367 ships were contacted, 1,032 of them were inspected or diverted to a port to be inspected, and 9 ships were found to be violating the UN embargoes.[1]


Its successor was Operation Sharp Guard. That was a multi-year joint naval blockade in the Adriatic Sea by NATO and the Western European Union on shipments to the former Yugoslavia that began on June 15, 1993, was suspended on June 19, 1996, and was terminated on October 2, 1996.[19][20][21][22]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 John Pike. "Operation Maritime Guard". Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ugo Caruso (2007). "`The Interplay between Council of Europe, OSCE, EU and NATO'" (PDF). Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  3. "Peace-Keeping Operations: Requirements and Effectiveness; NATO's Role" (PDF). June 2001. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jennifer Medcalf (2005). NATO: a beginner's guide. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 NATO and the former Yugoslavia: crisis, conflict, and the Atlantic Alliance. 2002. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  6. Craig H. Allen (2007). Maritime counterproliferation operations and the rule of law. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  7. John Pike. "Operation Maritime Monitor". Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  8. Regional Organizations. The Air Force Law Review. 1997. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  9. "Interoperability of U.S. and NATO Allied Air Forces: Supporting Data and Case Studies", RAND, 2003
  10. Giovanna Bono (2003). NATO's 'peace-enforcement' tasks and 'policy communities,' 1990-1999. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  11. "NATO: from Kosovo to Kabul", 2009
  12. "NATO Agrees to Blockade Serbs; Clears Ships to Fire," Toledo Blade, April 29, 1993
  13. "NATO Approves Blockade of Yugoslavian Coastline, The Times-News, April 29, 1993
  14. James Gow (1997). Triumph of the lack of will: international diplomacy and the Yugoslav War. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  15. "Lessons From Bosnia: The IFOR Experience", 1998
  16. "USS Kaufmann: Command History for Calendar Year 1993", 1994
  17. "Sailors Receive Commendations", The Argus-Press, 1993
  18. "NATO AWACS: Alliance Keystone for Out-of-Area Operations". Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  19. Bruce A. Elleman, S. C. M. Paine (2007). Naval coalition warfare: from the Napoleonic War to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  20. Bellamy, Christopher (June 20, 1996). "Naval blockade lifts in Adriatic". London: The Independent. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  21. "NPR : Transcripts Search Results".,0F574E769146EAE6.html. 
  22. Peter L. Hays, Brenda J. Vallance, Alan R. Van Tassel (1997). American defense policy. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 

External links

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