Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Navies of more than 30 countries in region for minesweeping exercises

The US Navy and more than 30 partners will begin anti-mine exercises in the Arabian Gulf next week.

ABU DHABI // The US navy will team up with more than 30 other nations on Sunday in the largest anti-mine exercise ever in the region.

Described as an effort to work co-operatively with the international community, the naval exercises will target the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman.

Lt Greg Raelson, a spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, said the exercise was "not being conducted in response to any specific threat".

"Mines and waterborne improvised explosive devices are a threat to life, and they are a threat to the freedom of navigation," Lt Raelson said.

"The international community is unified on this issue."

Some experts said the move was a message to Iran, which has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 20 per cent of the world's oil passes.

"Any time there is an exercise by the West or Iran, it is always about posturing or the control of the Strait of Hormuz," said Dr Theodore Karasik, director of research and consultancy at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

"What is really interesting will be how seriously the Iranians take this as a threat to their national security."

This year, the US navy moved four more minesweepers to the Arabian Gulf, bringing the total to eight.

Last week, Rear Admiral Kenneth Perry, the vice commander of the Naval Mine Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, said all nations "have a stake in keeping sea lanes open for maritime traffic".

"Mines are indiscriminate," Rear Admiral Perry said. "They pose a threat to all maritime traffic, regardless of nationality or purpose.

"Mines and waterborne improvised explosive devices are not only a threat to warships but a threat to commerce and the world economy."

Britain, France, Japan and more than two dozen other nations are expected to participate in the exercises, which will continue until September 27.

The UAE is not one of the confirmed participants.


The US navy is inviting the public to follow the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise on its Facebook page at facebook.com/IMCMEX12 and the official Navy blog at navylive.dodlive.mil/

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Walter Zenga is one win away from claiming silverware for the first time in the UAE. Karim Jaafar / AFP

Walter Zenga seeks early retribution at Al Jazira in Arabian Gulf Cup final

A victory over Al Ahli in the Arabian Gulf Cup final will help prove the Italian has turned around the fortunes of the capital club.

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National