U.S. Commenced International Maritime Exercise 2019 in the Persian Gulf

Photo Courtesy : U.S. Navy

The United States has officially kicked off the International Maritime Exercise 2019 (IMX 19) on 21st October, which involves 50 nations and will be held in the Persian Gulf and other strategic waters of the Middle East region.

IMX 19 demonstrates the international community’s resolve in maintaining regional security and stability, freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce. The maritime exercise will feature operations at the three main regional choke points of the Suez Canal, the Bab-al-Mandeb and Strait of Hormuz.

The exercise consists of four phases:

– Staff training
– Table-top and classroom exercises
– Fleet training exercise (FTX)
– Force redeployment.

This iteration of IMX is the sixth of its kind, the first being conducted in 2012 and the most recent being held in 2017. Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces, explained that IMX 19 will be the most dynamic one to date.

“This year’s iteration is the largest yet, expanding in size and geography; including all essential elements of maritime security operations,” said Malloy. “We’ve grown participation by about twenty nations, is covering an unprecedented amount of ground in the region, and our multinational team is taking part in more training scenarios than ever before.”

“IMX is an important demonstration of a global commitment to freedom of navigation and the free flow of maritime commerce in this region,” said Malloy. “I’m proud that we have participation from nations all over the world, especially in leadership positions of multiple task forces. Stability and security in the maritime domain is a shared goal of all nations.”

The participants will also hold an infrastructure protection symposium and a search-and-seizure seminar in Manama, Bahrain.

The list of participants also includes seven international organizations as well as different civilian and maritime industry organizations.

Since Iranian Tanker was seized by UK forces tension is quite high at the area. Both sides keep making movements on the chessboard, the middle east waters, but this exercise probably would be stimulating for Iran side. According to the recent statements made by Iran officials that they were planning to make naval exercise with Russia at the area. After IMX-2019, they might accelerate preparations for the naval drills.