Nations Gather in Bahrain for International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 13

Nations Gather in Bahrain for International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 13

Representatives from 41 nations have assembled in Bahrain to prepare for International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 13, May 6-30, in the Gulf Region.

International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 13, is the largest exercise of its kind in the region and will exercise a wide spectrum of defensive operations designed to protect international commerce and trade; mine countermeasures, maritime security operations (MSO) and maritime infrastructure protection (MIP).

“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, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/commander, U.S. 5th Fleet. “If 41 nations are willing to come here and practice MCM, just imagine how effective the global mine response would be if someone actually put mines in the water.”

Participating nations began staging and staff integration, May 6, for the afloat phase of the exercise, scheduled to begin next week. Thirty-five ships, 18 Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) and more than 100 explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) divers will deploy as participants during the exercise events of IMCMEX-13.

IMCMEX-13 is hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/U.S. 5th Fleet and will be conducted in three phases: a three-day symposium on maritime infrastructure protection, an afloat operations phase, and a re-integration phase where participants discuss best practices and lessons learned for future exercises.

Similar to last year, participants will exercise the afloat staging base concept aboard the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15) and British Royal Fleet Auxiliary amphibious assault vessel RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009), and will cover surface mine countermeasures, mine hunting and airborne mine countermeasures operations, international explosive ordnance disposal training, diving operations, small-boat exercises, unmanned aerial vehicle operations, unmanned underwater vehicle operations and port clearance operations.

New to this year’s exercise, MSO will introduce shipping escort and visit, board, search and seizure operations which will include representatives from maritime shipping industry who were involved in exercise planning and will play a significant role in shipping escort events. Industry representatives will also lead an oil spill response table-top discussion during the exercise.

The MIP portion of the exercise focuses on protecting maritime points of origin and arrival, such as ports or offshore terminals. This portion of the exercise will include shore and harbor security operations; visit, board, search and seizure teams; and specialized aircraft.

NAVCENT is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, parts of the Indian Ocean and 20 countries.

Press Release, May 7, 2013; Image: US Navy