Seventeen nations in military exercise for the protection of the Panama Canal
This year’s PANAMAX exercise kicked off on Monday involving representatives from 17 hemispheric countries with the purpose of practicing methods of protecting the safe passage of commercial traffic through the Panama Canal while ensuring its neutrality and respecting national sovereignty. U. S Navy Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris and Brazilian Rear Admiral Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho welcomed partner-nation participants on the inauguration of the exercise. PANAMAX includes training for many of the 21st century threats encountered in today’s land, sea, air and cyber environments according to a US Navy release.
More than 600 military personnel have travelled to Mayport, Florida for the exercise, including 170 guests from partner nations. The participating nations are Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the United States.
PANAMAX began in 2003 with three countries: Panama, Chile and the United States.
“This exercise is designed to execute stability operations under the support of United Nations Security Council resolutions; provide interoperability training for the participating multinational staffs; and build participating nation capability to plan and execute complex multinational operations,” said Harris, commander of US Naval Forces Southern Command and the U.S. 4th Fleet.
Simulated training for PANAMAX will be held at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas; Miami; and Naval Station Mayport, Florida.
“One of the most important benefits of multinational exercises like PANAMAX is the fact that all the participants will be able to exchange their experiences, expertise, and will gain new knowledge about each other’s culture and people,” Harris said.
“These interactions strengthen our bonds across the region and foster long-lasting friendships and an understanding among the partner nations, ultimately benefiting the security of the region”, said the US Navy top officer.