Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Underwater anti-mine drones in Gulf trial

About 40 nations are taking part in International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 13, which begins today around Bahrain and strategic Gulf sea lanes.

DUBAI // Underwater anti-mine drones will be used in the Arabian Gulf as part of an international naval exercise to improve maritime safety.

About 40 nations are taking part in International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 13, which begins today around Bahrain and strategic Gulf sea lanes.

The largest exercise of its kind in the region, IMCMEX will run until May 30, using the SeaFox, an unmanned underwater vehicle used for mine hunting, rescue and recovery operations by the British and US navies.

About 4ft long and weighing just 40kg, the SeaFox uses homing sonar to detect underwater objects. On-board CCTV cameras feed live images back to the controller by a fibre-optic line. If the object turns out to be a mine, the SeaFoxrams the mine, destroying both the mine and itself.

"This multidisciplinary defence exercise is focused on maritime security for commerce and trade from the port of origin to the port of arrival," said Commodore Simon Ancona of theUS Navy, commander of this year's force.

"Our planners have included events that address more of the security picture than just mines on the high seas."

Concern about Iran's military capabilities, its threats to shut the Strait of Hormuz and attack vessels that sail through it have often heightened tension in the region.

The concentration of shipping vessels and oil tankers also make it a prime target for Somali pirates and terror groups as about a fifth of the world's oil exports pass through the Strait and the Indian Ocean.

The exercise is being hosted by the US Fifth Fleet.

Other participating nations include Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UK.


* With additional reporting by Awad Mustafa

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

On our sixth birthday, today’s news told visually

Today in print, we are doing something different: we use only photos, graphics, illustrations and headlines to capture the news in a one-off collector’s edition.

 Rolling out the structure for the set. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Star Wars: Episode VII evidence in Abu Dhabi desert

After more than a week of speculation, The National has what are believed to be the first photos of a Star Wars shoot in the Abu Dhabi desert.

 Children walk past an Indian voter awareness mural in Mumbai ahead of the sixth phase of India’s national elections. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Inside India: Election, Promoting the Vote

A view of news and daily life on the Indian subcontinent for the week of April 10, 2014.

 INVERNESS, SCOTLAND - APRIL 16:  A general view of Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit on April 16, 2014 in Scotland. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place on September 18, 2014.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Map of seperatist movements around the world

The conflict in Ukraine is a classic example of competing aspirations and identities – here’s a look at seperatist movements around the world.

 Hassan Abdullah, who goes by the name Abu Mahmoud, an Emirati fisherman, poses for a portrait at the Al Rughayalat Port. Abu Mahmoud was born and raised in Fujairah city and has been working as a fisherman since 1968. “I’m a shark man”, he says, “I was born in the sea.” Silvia Razgova / The National

In pictures: Fishing communities in the Northern Emirates

Fishermen in Fujairah and Umm Al Qaiwain worry that new regulations to protect fish stocks are harming their trade. We look at both communities through the lens of our photographers.

 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