U.S. Navy Leads 30-Nation Maritime Exercise in Middle East

mideast1
New Hampshire Union Leader – An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter prepares to land on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman during a vertical replenishment in the Arabian Gulf in this U.S. Navy picture taken April 6, 2016 (REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco/Handout via Reuters)

The U.S. Navy is leading a 30-nation maritime exercise across Middle Eastern waters which it says will help protect international trade routes against possible threats, including from Islamic State and al Qaeda.

The International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) started on Monday with a symposium in Bahrain where the U.S Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based, in part as a bulwark against Iran.Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said on Saturday the exercise was designed to stop militants from causing disruption to shipping.

more

Bahraini Royal Navy special task force show their skills during a media demonstration for the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) at the Bahrain Naval Support Unit, Fifth Fleet Command centre in Manama, Bahrain April 9, 2016. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Bahraini Royal Navy special task force show their skills during a media demonstration for the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) at the Bahrain Naval Support Unit, Fifth Fleet Command centre in Manama, Bahrain April 9, 2016. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Naval commanders warn of terror threat against commercial shipping

mideast3Stars and Stripes – “(Militants) are well aware of the vulnerability of shipping and when its confined to choke points, ports, and channels,” Commodore William Warrender, (right) British deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces told reporters in Bahrain. “And also, the disproportionate media attention that perhaps a spectacular maritime attack would generate.”

One such threat is that al-Qaida has gained control of Yemen’s port city of Mukalla, giving it access to sea lanes that are regularly traveled, Donegan said.

“The goal is to have a collective understanding and a will to tackle the problem”, said Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan . “Its also to work with the maritime transport companies to understand their vulnerabilities and their role to help mitigate threat.”

more

mideast6
VIEW SLIDESHOW – Personnel aboard the afloat forward staging base USS Ponce communicate while the Ponce crew is getting media personnel to and from a mine countermeasures ship in the Persian Gulf during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise April 10, 2016. – Chris Church/Stars and Stripes
mideast4
British Royal Navy stands in line to welcome media onboard HMS Middelton during a media demonstration for the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) at the Bahrain Naval Support Unit, Fifth Fleet Command center in Manama, Bahrain April 9, 2016 – PressTV

The IMCMEX, which ends on April 26, focuses on operations such as mine countermeasures, infrastructure protection, and maritime security operations to protect civilian shipping.

In addition, new technologies such as unmanned underwater vehicles and the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Choctaw County are being demonstrated. – PressTV

141109-N-CG436-007 ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 9, 2014) Explosive ordnance disposal technicians from Commander, Task Group 56.1 prepare to exit the water after completing a scuba dive off the coast of Bahrain during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX). With a quarter of the world’s navies participating, including 6,500 Sailors from every region, IMCMEX is the largest international naval exercise promoting maritime security and the free-flow of trade through mine countermeasure operations, maritime security operations and maritime infrastructure protection in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and throughout the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Scichilone/Released)
141109-N-CG436-007
ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 9, 2014) Explosive ordnance disposal technicians from Commander, Task Group 56.1 prepare to exit the water after completing a scuba dive off the coast of Bahrain during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX). With a quarter of the world’s navies participating, including 6,500 Sailors from every region, IMCMEX is the largest international naval exercise promoting maritime security and the free-flow of trade through mine countermeasure operations, maritime security operations and maritime infrastructure protection in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and throughout the world. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Scichilone/Released) – Norfolk Navy Flagship