Canadian ships HMCS Iroquois, Preserver and Ville de Québec are participating in Exercise Unitas in the western Caribbean with 14 southern allied countries from September 6 to 15.
Held each year since 1959, Exercise Unitas is the largest annual exercise south of the United States border and is designed to practice various maritime scenarios while improving interoperability and fostering friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating countries.
“Canadians can be proud of the leadership role that their Royal Canadian Navy is taking in this important exercise,” said General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff. “Canada is once again demonstrating an ability to work alongside partner nations to make meaningful contributions to security in the Americas.”
“This exercise offers an excellent opportunity for our sailors to improve interoperability with other like-minded nations – in areas such as counter-drug trafficking, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster response,” said Vice Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy. “By exercising with our Caribbean, Central and South American counterparts, the Royal Canadian Navy is enhancing our capability to respond quickly and effectively to various operational contingencies in the region.”
The 54th edition of Exercise Unitas is hosted by the Colombian Navy and will involve the participation of warships from Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Germany, Honduras, Jamaica, Peru, Mexico, Panama, the United Kingdom and the United States. HMCS Iroquois, Preserver and Ville de Québec are already in Cartagena, Colombia, participating in a series of pre-sailing military and community activities and engagements. HMCS Iroquois will assume a key leadership position during Exercise Unitas by acting as the flagship for the multinational force, demonstrating once again the Royal Canadian Navy’s ability to play a lead role in international coalition operations.
Press Release, September 6, 2013