Divers Highlight Interoperability in Finding
Interoperability in Finding, Neutralizing Mines
By Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx,
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs.
Kuwait — (NNS)
— April 20, 2016 — Divers from five nations are training together to identify and
neutralize mines and other threats in order to ensure the waterways in the
Middle East remain safe for commercial shipping.
Explosive ordnance disposal teams from Kuwait, France, the
Netherlands, Germany, and the U.S. are conducting a series of drills to address
some of the biggest notional threats to maritime commerce as part of the
International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX).
IMCMEX includes navies from more than 30 countries spanning
six continents training together across the Middle East. The exercise is focused
on maritime security -- from mine countermeasures, maritime infrastructure
protection, and maritime security operations -- in support of civilian shipping
and freedom of navigation.
"IMCMEX brings together a different variety of coalition
partners," said German navy Cmdr. Mario Fink, from Kiel, Germany, who is
commanding the IMCMEX task force in Kuwait. "Working together to know the
ability of the different nations and to be familiar with circumstances of this
very important area is an important goal of IMCMEX."
Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central
Command, visited the operations April 14 and toured with Maj. Gen. Khaled
Abdullah, commander of Kuwait's Naval Forces.
"This exercise is about enhancing cooperation, maritime
capabilities and interoperability between international partners," said Donegan.
"This exercise provides an opportunity for us to build proficiency and test the
latest technology available for ensuring the global maritime commons stay open
Kuwaiti dive teams are conducting training with U.S. and
partner nations throughout IMCMEX to include medical and harbor security
French navy Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Bontemps, from Lyon, France,
led a vehicle-born improvised explosive device engagement and neutralization,
highlighting the importance of training together.
"We participate in IMCEX to improve our training level in
different contexts so that when there are dangers we are used to facing them,"
said Bontemps. "We are also here to improve interoperability between nations."
"It's the big picture - the navy is here to protect our
merchant shipping," added Dutch navy Lt. Cmdr. Lodewijk de Waard from Rhenen,
Netherlands, who led the demonstrations for Donegan and Abdullah. "If our
merchant shipping is threatened we have to protect them. If it deals with mines
or improvised mines, it is a job for our unit in the Netherlands and the
international community. We do a lot of trade with the countries out here -- it
is important for us to be ready to deploy with a united response."
IMCMEX will continue through April 26.
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Command/5th Fleet, visit