The operation which was scheduled for an initial period of twelve months has now been extended by the council until Dec 2010. During this period up to 12 EU ships and a number Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) will operate at any one time.
At the present time, eight EU member states are making a permanent operational contribution to the operation: Italy, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Luxemburg and Greece. Contributions from third countries such as Norway are participating as well. Also, a number of Cypriot, Irish, Finnish, Maltese and Sweden military personnel supplement the team at the Northwood Operation Headquarters.
The joint funding of the operation amounts to EUR 8,3 millions for the first year. This budget, which is shared between the EU member states and is established on the basis of their GDP, mainly covers the running costs of the OHQ and the Force Headquarters Quarters (FHQ). The common costs for supplying the force are shared by the contributing countries and established according to their involvement in the operation, with each country continuing to bear the cost of the resources it implements.
The military personnel involved in the operation can arrest, detain and transfer persons who are suspected of, or who have committed, acts of piracy or armed robbery in the areas where they are present. They can seize the vessels of the pirates or the vessels captured following an act of piracy or an armed robbery and which are in the hands of the pirates, as well as the goods on board. The suspects can be prosecuted, as appropriate, by an EU member state or by Kenya under the agreement signed with the EU on 6 March 2009 giving the Kenyan authorities the right to prosecute.
The European naval force operates in a zone comprising the south of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and part of the Indian Ocean, which now includes the Seychelles, which represents an area comparable to that of the Mediterranean. A considerable international Naval presence is now in this zone and provide permanent or temporary backup to the action conducted by the European naval force. The EU NAVFOR operation is in permanent liaison with these forces (CTF-151, NATO Maritime Group, Russian, Indian, Japanese and Chinese vessels).