Twenty ships from eight different countries are currently taking part in the training exercise ‘Spanish Minex’ off the coast between Alicante and Cartagena which will continue until 22 September.

The exercise has been organized by the Spanish navy to improve coordination in the detection and dismantling of mines and bombs in the sea.

Details of the deployment were provided last week at a press conference held by the Commander of the Medidas Contraminas de la Armada, Jaime Golmayo, who will be directing the exercise, together with the participation of Nato.

He explained that the methods for countermine warfare are very sophisticated, so regular collaboration between different navy’s is essential. “These exercises will allow us all to practice common tactics in order to ensure freedom of navigation of maritime traffic in general and freedom of action of the naval forces in particular.”

There are lots of naval mines that are still a threat to marine traffic in many parts of the world.

Many of the mines are obsolete weapons which were invented over 100 years ago, but precisely because of this they are very cheap and easy to acquire or manufacture by terrorists or other groups, which makes them extremely dangerous.

“Although most terrorist attacks are terrestrial, we must be prepared for less conventional threats, particularly maritime,” he said, also pointing out that 90 percent of the world’s population lives within 200 kilometers of the coast, and that all international crisis and conflicts are supported by maritime operations.

In the first phase of the operation, which is currently underway, and is taking place on the coast between Cabo de Palos and Torrevieja, around 65 simulated mines have been launched. Captain Golmayo emphasized that they are all completely safe and harmless to the environment and marine life.

From 11 to 13 September the first training phase and the integration of the different navy’s took place, with the tactical phase taking place between 14 to 19. During this phase of the exercise the vessels will search for, locate, classify, identify and simulate the neutralization of the mines.

One of the exercises that will be conducted will be the neutralization of drifting mines, which he said is far more complex than mines that are attached to fixed points.

All operations are carried out in a fictional scenario in which a crisis occurs in country ruled by a dictatorship.

On 21 and 22 September all the artifacts used in the area will be collected by the force which will also clean the seabed of the are used in the exercise.

In total there will be over 500 military taking part from Spain, Germany, France, Turkey, Greece, Belgium, Italy and the UK. Spain is providing five minesweepers, a submarine, three patrol boats, an auxiliary vessel, a helicopter and one airplane.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/44859/

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