Naval Forces from 13 countries participate in UNITAS training in Perú
By Dialogo October 07, 2014
The navies of 13 countries recently visited Peruvian waters to participate in the Pacific phase of the UNITAS 55 multinational exercises, held with the goal of strengthening cooperation in the fight against international drug trafficking and other transnational crimes.
“We were able to show that by working together, we can combat common threats that affect our countries,” said Surface Fleet Commander Rear Admiral César Linares Roca of the Peruvian Navy.
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Italy, México, New Zealand, Panamá, Perú, the United Kingdom and the United States all participated in the exercises, held September 11-26.
The exercises involved training in electronic warfare, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine tactics, interdictions, and water surface maneuvers. They were held in two phases. The first consisted of naval warfare exercises; the second involved a simulation in which participants confronted civilian ships that were committing crimes. In these exercises, units from different navies formed a coalition and cooperated in conducting missions to confront ships engaging in criminal enterprises, such as drug trafficking.
“We conducted several interdiction operations against units that role-played as merchants or fishermen, based on a scenario with illegal activities and piracy, which provided training in planning, managing, and executing battle actions against the new threats that have arisen in the world,” said Captain Renato Antonioli Ríos of the Peruvian Navy.
Solidarity in the hemisphere
The idea for UNITAS came about during the First Naval Conference, which was held in 1959 in Panamá under the Inter-American Mutual Assistance Treaty (IAMAT), but its aims have changed since then.
“UNITAS has evolved over time. Our current goal is to be prepared to confront criminal activities that affect the countries in the region. In addition to typical, naval operational tasks, over the last few years we have also readied ourselves to face asymmetrical crisis situations, such as drug trafficking, environmental contaminations and illegal fishing,” Antonioli said.
The exercises don’t just provide training for naval action against crime at sea – they also promote friendly relations and cooperation among allied countries. A different one hosts every year. Latin American naval forces have always participated in the exercises in cooperation with the United States Navy.
“This was a magnificent opportunity to apply our material and human capabilities in what we’ve trained to do. It required professionalism from well-supported personnel,” said Chilean Navy Commander Rodrigo Solar Infante.
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