MANAMA, Bahrain (April 11, 2016) — Coalition ships sailed to begin the underway
portion of the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise, April 10.
U.S. and Royal Navy ships sailed into the Arabian Gulf and Straits of
Hormuz to practice working together to address threats such as piracy,
terrorism, and mines.
IMCMEX is a wholly defensive exercise and will accommodate a full
spectrum of security and support capabilities in order to keep sea lanes
open and protect the free flow of commerce.
"This will not be the first time my crew has been challenged, and we are
ready for this exercise," said Lt. Cmdr. Maryla Ingham, RN, commanding
officer of HMS Middleton, a British mine countermeasures vessel. "I am
thoroughly looking forward to working with our international partners
and getting out to find mines."
Previous IMCMEX exercises operated together in a series of at-sea
maneuvers where international air, sea and undersea forces responded to
simulated sea-mine attacks in international waters and cleared maritime
routes to restore freedom of navigation.
This year's exercise will involve scenarios in mine countermeasures,
maritime security operations, infrastructure protection, mass
casualties, search and rescue, and visit, board, search and seizure.
Today USS Ponce, HMS Middleton, several other mine countermeasures
vessels, and embarked air, MCM and MSO detachments departed for
operations in the Arabian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz.
IMCMEX began April 4 with a symposium in Bahrain on Maritime
Infrastructure Protection bringing together governments, militaries and
industry to discuss how to best provide the necessary foundation of
security that supports unrestricted access to the vital maritime
infrastructure that is critical to regional and global economies.
The exercise will continue through April 26.