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The Spanish Armada are leading the joint security exercise, MARSEC 13, or Maritime Security Exercise, between the 13th and the 24th of May, with 25 administrative agencies working together in a series of exercises concentrating on practising manoeuvres…



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The Spanish Armada are leading the joint security exercise, MARSEC 13, or Maritime Security Exercise, between the 13th and the 24th of May, with 25 administrative agencies working together in a series of exercises concentrating on practising manoeuvres for as diverse a range of incidents from illegal immigration to drug trafficking, along with maritime security and environmental protection.

“The objective of the MARSEC 2013 exercise is to check the capacity for coordination and collaboration of naval maritime action forces with other agencies, to address maritime security operations and improve coordination in the sea between the units of the Navy and the Maritime Service of the Guardia Civil, Salvage, Customs Enforcement, General Secretariat of Fisheries and the Red Cross”, according to the official briefing notes.

The Spanish Navy will provide eleven ships and 800 sailors of Maritime Action Force, the amphibious assault ship “Castilla”, from the Buques de Acción Marítima (BAM), there will be “Tornado” and “Relámpago” taking part, minesweeper “Tambre”, the salvage ship “Neptuno”, and several other patrol and transport ships.

In addition to the navy, both the army and air force are involved, along with the National Police and Guardia Civil, the Directorate General of Merchant Marine, the Spanish Shipowners Association (ANAVE) Permanent Centre for Information and Coordination Ministry of Interior (CEPIC), Port Authority, the Society of Maritime Safety Agency (SASEMAR) Intelligence Centre Organized Crime (CICO), the Associate Director of Customs Surveillance (DAVA), Protección Civil, Cruz Roja Española, Foreign Health and other local and regional agencies and several observers from allied countries.

The complex exercise is to be held in ten scenarios, requiring a large amount of coordination and cooperation.

Scenario 1 consists of an exercise activated by the Naval Cooperation and Guidance Traffic in Mediterranean waters and will aim to improve coordination between different authorities of the Navy and the Naval Command Headquarters.

Scenario 2 covers the bases of Ferrol, Cádiz and Cartagena and will see the activation of the Surveillance and Maritime Security system. The aim is to assess the reaction time and activation protocols to an incident Navy Maritime Security.

Scenario 3 takes in the ports of Huelva and Cartagena, in which there will be an exercise to protect civilians and port security.

Scenario 4 is at the port and Arsenal Militar de Las Palmas, in which there will be an exercise relating to illegal activities, such as maritime terrorism, illegal immigration, castaways rescue, harbour emergencies, port security and public health.

Scenario 5 is in the waters off the Canary Islands, and will evaluate collaboration between the Navy and the National Police with an exercise to combat drug trafficking.

Scenario 6 is in the port of Málaga, in which a passenger ship from several locations in the Atlantic with a scheduled stopover in Málaga will declare an incident with health implications.

Scenario 7 takes in the border between Spain with Portugal and the Gulf of Vera near Almería and will evaluate the Navy’s collaboration with the Customs Surveillance Service (DAVA).

Scenario 8 is in the waters off Torrevieja and San Pedro del Pinatar and will include diving operations and a Navy Salvage and Rescue operation of the remains of crashed plane.

Scenario 9 is located on the Gulf of Cádiz, where an operation will collaborate with maritime safety operations from SASEMAR, with a search and rescue operation.

Scenario 10, the final operation, takes place in the Strait of Gibraltar, with an exercise to update and maintain overall knowledge of the marine environment.

During the operation period, most additional requests from private ship owners have been declined or revised, so as not to impede or interfere with these training exercises. Although we are unable to give timings for security reasons, the operations are planned to run over the 11 day period, so fans of military activities are sure to catch sight of some of those ships taking part, as the groups all come together in the interests of improving safety and security for all.

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