IMCMEX: An international training effort

IMCMEX

Written by Lt. Jon Ladyga

This year’s International Mine Countermeasures Exercise, or IMCMEX, concluded in Bahrain recently after several weeks of seminars and training maneuvers focused on enhancing military cooperation, protecting global commerce and developing the international community’s ability to address threats to the freedom of navigation. The exercise included more than 6,500 military service members from 44 nations, over 700 civilian mariners, operated 38 naval ships, 32 civilian merchant vessels and three separate task forces throughout the Arabian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea.

The exercise commenced with a three-day Maritime Infrastructure Protection Symposium, or MIPS, providing an opportunity for senior military leaders and industry representatives to discuss how the international community can partner to protect critical infrastructure, ensure the safety of maritime commerce and work together during a major oil spill response.

“Of the 11 missions of the U.S. Coast Guard, defense readiness is our central calling in the Arabian Gulf,” said Capt. Lee Petty, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, during the symposium. “Our collective effort during IMCMEX with the U.S. Navy, coalition partners and commercial industry exemplifies the strong commitment we all have to enhancing maritime safety, security and stewardship in this important region.”

U.S. Navy photo.

U.S. Navy photo.

U.S. Navy photo.

U.S. Navy photo.

Following the MIPS, U.S. Coast Guard personnel from PATFORSWA’s Middle East Training Team coordinated with Combined Maritime Forces to host eight nations during a Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure, or VBSS, seminar. The event, held over five days in Bahrain, saw 57 delegates from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Yemen, Djibouti and Seychelles to conduct training that covered all aspects of boarding operations. During the course of the week they were joined by Dr. Mowaffak Al Rubaie, A member of Iraqi parliament, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, Commander, U.S. Central Command, and Navy Vice Adm. John Miller, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and 5th Fleet.

During the at-sea phase of IMCMEX, four U.S. Coast Guard cutters took to the sea, as well as personnel from the Maritime Sercuirty Response Team, or MSRT, to participate in various operations focused on mine countermeasures and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf. PATFORSWA’s 110-foot Patrol Boats Aquidneck, Maui, Baranof and Monomoy coordinated with other U.S. and coalition warships, along with commercial vessels, to execute training focused on MIP, VBSS, and mine countermeasures. The exercise was a great opportunity to highlight the U.S. Coast Guard’s important role in the region and demostrate proficiency in one of the service’s core missions of defense readiness.

Visit, board, search and seizure teams from the coastal patrol ship USS Firebolt (PC 10) and the United States Coast Guard, Maritime Security Response Team wait for clearance to board the destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) during a training evolution. Mitscher is currently underway in the Arabian Gulf participating in the International Mine Countermeasure Exercise (IMCMEX). With a quarter of the world’s navies participating, including 6,500 Sailors from every region, IMCMEX is the largest international naval exercise promoting maritime security and the free-flow of trade through mine countermeasure operations, maritime security operations and maritime infrastructure protection in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and throughout the world. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick W. Mullen III.

Visit, board, search and seizure teams from the coastal patrol ship USS Firebolt (PC 10) and the United States Coast Guard, Maritime Security Response Team wait for clearance to board the destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) during a training evolution. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick W. Mullen III.

A visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team member assigned to the United States Coast Guard, Maritime Security Response Team uses a ladder to board the destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) during a training evolution. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick W. Mullen III.

A visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team member assigned to the United States Coast Guard, Maritime Security Response Team uses a ladder to board the destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) during a training evolution. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick W. Mullen III.

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