More mine-sweeping drills planned in May

Global navies are set to return to the region [Gulf of Oman] for the second time in eight months this May for mine-sweeping and security exercises.

More mine-sweeping drills planned in May

Global navies are set to return to the region [Gulf of Oman] for the second time in eight months this May for mine-sweeping and security exercises, Khaleej Times times can confirm.
More than 40 countries have been invited to participate this year and the three-week exercise will focus on mine counter-measure operations with additional emphasis on maritime infrastructure protection, according to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet. Maritime infrastructure covers ports, shipping and shipbuilding facilities.

‘‘The additional exercise serials will serve to deepen the relationship with maritime industry as well as developing further key capabilities,’’ said Lt. Marissa Myatt of the 5th Fleet which is based in Bahrain.

No mines have been detected in regional waters recently, she said, but added that waterborne explosive devices continue to pose a threat to life and commerce in international waters and to the world economy. The International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2013 (IMCMEX 13) is intended to boost maritime security in the Arabian Gulf and for a coordinated response by navies. She evaded a question on whether the drill is targetted at any country. ‘‘Mines are indiscriminate; they pose a threat to all maritime traffic, regardless of nationality or purpose,’’ the 5th Fleet official said. There are over a quarter-million sea mines of more than 300 types in the inventories of 50 navies worldwide.

When asked why a second exercise is being conducted in a relatively short span, she said it is to expand on the success of the IMCMEX 12 where many technologies, including sea drones like Blackfish were tested. She said the last exercise was a ‘‘great example of the robust international capability that can be leveraged to clear mines at sea’’.

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Source: Khaleej Times.

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