Oct. 21 (UPI) -- International Maritime Exercise 2019, involving 50 nations and seven international organizations, began on Monday in the Middle East, hosted by the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the Navy's Fifth Fleet.
The exercise is the sixth of its kind, having last conducted in 2017. It will be held in four phases, including staff build-up and training, seminars and table-top discussions, the at-sea Fleet Training Exercise and redeployment of forces.
Events will be conducted in the Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, and will involve air, surface and underwater mine countermeasure operations and harbor force protection scenarios with unmanned underwater vehicles, the Command said.
An infrastructure protection symposium and a search-and-seizure seminar are also planned in Manama, Bahrain. The list of participants also includes civilian and maritime industry organizations.
"This year's iteration is the largest yet, expanding in size and geography; including all essential elements of maritime security operations," Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said in a press release. "We've grown participation by about twenty nations, are covering an unprecedented amount of ground in the region, and our multinational team is taking part in more training scenarios than ever before."
The exercise will conclude on November 12.