41 Countries Participate in Largest Gulf Naval Exercise

Reuters07.05.2013 Bahrain
41 Countries Participate in Largest Gulf Naval Exercise

41 Countries Participate in Largest Gulf Naval Exercise

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One of the biggest naval exercises in the Gulf started yesterday with 41 nations taking part, reflecting concerns that the one of the world's most important waterways, is vulnerable to mines, a report said.

The International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 13 will continue until May 30 and will include an array of operations designed to protect international commerce and trade; mine countermeasures; maritime security operations; and maritime infrastructure protection, added the report in Gulf Daily News.

“We are very pleased to see that more than 40 nations have joined us here to take part in this opportunity to enhance international naval capability to preserve freedom of navigation in international waterways,” said Vice-Admiral John W Miller, Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command and the US Fifth Fleet.

“If 41 nations are willing to come here and practice MCM (mine countermeasures), just imagine how effective the global mine response would be if someone actually put mines in the water,” he added.

Participating nations began “staging and staff integration” Monday with the main exercise to begin next week.

It will include 35 ships, 18 unmanned underwater vehicles and more than 100 Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) divers.

IMCMEX 13 is being hosted by the US Naval Forces Central Command and US Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, and will be conducted in three phases.

It starts with a three-day symposium on maritime infrastructure protection, an afloat operations phase and a reintegration phase during which participants will discuss best practice and lessons learnt.

Exercises will include surface mine countermeasures, mine hunting, airborne mine countermeasures, international explosive ordnance disposal training, diving operations, small boat exercises, unmanned aerial vehicle operations, unmanned underwater vehicle operations and port clearance operations.

There will also be shipping escort and visit, board, search and seizure operations - including representatives of the shipping industry.

Industry representatives will also lead an oil spill response discussion.

Protecting ports and offshore terminals will also be in focus, with shore and harbor security operations and specialized aircraft being drilled.


Source: Gulf Daily News; Reuters


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