Staff Reporter
THE NATO fleet taking part in the multi-national Minex 04 exercise was moored between the Portopi naval base and the Dique del Oeste yesterday.
It is taking part in exercises off the south of the island, which started on Wednesday and will continue until next Friday.
The objective of the manoeuvres is to exercise NATO'S defensive doctrine and procedures to counteract the use of mines in the waters of members countries.

They are also designed to improve the training, integration and preparation of the units involved in the war against mines.
The fleet, 18 units from seven countries with a crew of 750, is under the command of Captain Gonzalo Sirvent Zaragoza of Spain.
The group comprises five mine hunters from Spain, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Greece, under the German command ship Rhein, together with a support ship, two Segura class mine hunters, two Fucar mine sweepers, a team of Army divers and a French Tripartite mine hunter.

Taking part as mine layers are a Spanish Delfin class submarine and the auxiliary boat Mar Caribe, co-ordinated by the American vessel Apache.
The exercise also has the collaboration of the corvette Infanta Cristina and the patrol ship Alcanada.
During the manoeuvres, the units must keep the waters free of mines. Harmless dispositives are used as mines and they will all be removed at the end of the exercise.

The port of Palma plays a role of vital importance as a support base in the geo-strategic framework of the NATO naval forces.
So far this month it has been visited by the STANAVFORLANT (Atlantic fleet of destroyers), whose task is to control arms smuggling by terrorists.
The anti-mine fleet currently in port is known as MCMFORSOUTH.
Mines and arms smuggling are both threats to security in an international political panorama in a state of upheaval.

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