This year marks the 50th anniversary of the international naval cooperation agreements between Colombia and Jamaica. As part of this celebration, units of the Colombian Navy and the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard carried out training exercises off the Caribbean coast of Colombia in mid-November.
In the exercise, more than 110 military participants carried out activities based on the procedures and doctrine established by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), such as those carried out during multinational maritime exercise UNITAS. These exercises seek to strengthen interoperability and favor the exchange of experiences among crew members to increase confidence and level of training in security, assistance, and control tasks at sea.
“These military personnel were in charge of carrying out formations at sea, communications and support maneuvers, and simulating possible emergencies on the high seas, among others, thus testing the capabilities of the ARC Almirante Padilla missile frigate and the Jamaican Navy ship HMJS Alexander Bustamante,” Colombian Navy Captain Octavio Alberto Gutiérrez Herrera, commander of the Specific Command of San Andrés and Providencia, told Diálogo. “Likewise, these maneuvers were commanded and controlled from the operations centers located in San Andrés and Kingston [Jamaica].”
The different exchanges between the Colombian Navy and the navies of other countries favor the collective creation of timely and adequate responses to the great global challenges in security and defense. Some of the practical utilities of this type of exercises have been applied in humanitarian transport operations such as the transfer of Jamaican fishermen who were caught in Colombian waters while carrying out illegal fishing activities aboard industrial vessels.
“In these cases [once the illegal fish has been] seized, the personnel was transported to Colombian coasts and after the corresponding controls and sanctions by Migration Colombia, they were transported to rendezvous points where they were handed over to Jamaican naval units, in coordination with the Foreign ministries of both countries,” Capt. Gutiérrez said. “Therefore, Jamaica represents a strategic ally for the country in order to continue generating actions to increase the control of maritime spaces and fishing activities in the region, so the intent, based on the policies of the national government, will be to maintain over time this type of naval exercise to maintain the highest level of training, in order to be a deterrent to transnational crimes that occur in the northern Caribbean.”
The strategic objective of this type of combined exercises with other nations is to contribute to ensuring free navigation and use of maritime communication channel for ships of all flags in international waters. Deterring and mitigating the different scourges and threats to the security of both nations, narcotrafficking crimes, illegal predatory fishing, protecting species and ecosystems, ensuring the sovereignty of maritime borders, and enforcing international treaties, are among other goals.
“Basically, these different exchanges between the Colombian Navy and the navies of other countries contribute to the collective construction of timely and adequate responses to the great global challenges in security and defense mentioned above; for this, we will always seek to strengthen the procedures established for the development of the different constitutional missions of both countries,” Capt. Gutiérrez concluded.