Navies of the Americas Unite

first_img Naval security, from monitoring and controlling fishing activities to the fight against drug trafficking, was among the topics debated at the 24th Inter-American Naval Conference (Conferência Naval Interamericana, or CNI), held in September 2010 in Rio de Janeiro. The CNI was created in 1950 and is held every two years. It promotes ongoing professional ties among navies of participating countries and is considered “the most important forum for debate and exchange among the navies of the Americas,” according to the secretary-general of the 24th edition of the event, Brazilian Rear Adm. Wagner Lopes de Moraes Zamith, who spoke to Diálogo at the event. The navies of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Venezuela participated in the conference. Evaluating the conclusions reached during the event, the commandant-general of the Brazilian Navy, Fleet Adm. Julio Soares de Moura Neto, told Diálogo that “delegates from the participating countries left the event fully aware that we need to exchange information and cooperate with one another.” By Dialogo January 01, 2011 Bolivia… where is your sea? It was a successful event, once again, a show of excellent relations between the Navies of the Americas as they cooperate with each other and the the maritime security forces. There are challenges in the Atlantic, Pacific and even in the Antarctic. It has to motivate, above all, the governments of these countries to invest in education to train their elite professionals for jobs on the sea — civil and military — with a view towards taking advantage of the riches of the ocean to guarantee preservation and security. We await the 2012 conference in Mexico. Rear Adm. Aland Javier Molestina Malta, commandant-general of the Ecuadorian Navy, spoke of the shared importance of secure oceans. “Although it’s only now that we talk about globalization, the ocean has always been globalized as a way to get everywhere. We all have common interests in this ocean. We cannot focus only on our own country, but have to focus on the entire region.” Adm. Molestina added that Ecuador is being used as a transit route from drug production areas to consumers, and in order to solve the problem, Ecuador “needs close contact between countries, particularly with Colombia, Peru and the United States, which is the main destination for all these drugs.” Noting a specific contribution by Ecuador in this battle, Adm. Molestina told Diálogo that his country has developed a system available to others in the region called ZIMAC. The system monitors ships weighing more than 200 tons. Nonetheless, Adm. Molestina thinks that the surveillance of smaller vessels remains problematic. “Throughout the region, we should standardize the monitoring system and share information on these suspicious vessels that pass through international waters.” Vice Adm. Álvaro Echandía Durán, head of the Colombian Navy’s delegation, told Diálogo that the Colombian Navy has vast experience in the fight against drug trafficking. Vice Adm. Echandía said that in 2009, the Colombian Navy set a record for the country, seizing 97.4 tons of cocaine. The Colombian Navy also monitors the presence of self-propelled semisubmersibles, clandestine submarine vessels used to transport illicit drugs. According to Colombian officials, in 1993, when seizures of this kind were first conducted, 56 of these vessels were found, whereas in 2009, the number seized dropped to 20. “We stopped a large share of these vessels still in the construction phase. Others that were already sailing, filled with drugs, were then intercepted,” said Adm. Echandía, who pointed out that Colombian law authorizes imprisonment for the use of any type of semisubmersible. The head of the Paraguayan delegation, Rear Adm. Egberto E. Orue Benegas, spoke of the need to focus on riverine operations. “Besides the effort to free our rivers from pollution, we also fight against illicit trafficking,” he emphasized in an interview with Diálogo. Nations throughout the region are increasingly turning their attention to patrolling Amazonian rivers. For the chief Mexican representative at the conference, Fleet Adm. José Jesús Marte Camarera, the most important aspect was the exchange of information among the forces and joint operations with all the navies from the Americas. “This is why we participated in the conference, to explain our point of view and to get to know the points of view of others,” said Fleet Adm. Marte Camarera. center_img For the head of the general staff of the Chilean Navy, Vice Adm. Federico Niemann Fiyari, the conference facilitated more than the exchange of information. “There are agreements implemented with certain countries … to exchange information ahead of time so as to be able to react on a national level with the resources and the regulatory and legal jurisdictions that each country has in this matter,” he told Diálogo. Brazilian Navy Rear Adm. Wagner Lopes de Moraes Zamith told Diálogo that the goal of the 2010 conference had been successfully met: to improve interoperability among the navies of the Americas to establish security and peace among nations. Mexico will host the 25th Inter-American Naval Conference in 2012.last_img

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