MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) officially concluded the annual 2012 PANAMAX exercise Aug. 16 at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.
Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris along with Brazilian Rear Adm. Wilson Pereira de Lima Filho concluded the exercise in which more than 1,000 military personnel from 17 nations, including the United States, participated. Of that number, 269 participants were from partner nations.
"I would to thank our partners in the Americas and other observers for their critical contribution and outstanding participation in key leadership roles of this exercise. Every nation shared unique and invaluable skills and their real-world experiences make this the best exercise ever," Harris said.
The main focus of PANAMAX 2012 was to exercise a variety of responses, in coordination with the governments of Panama and Colombia, to protect and guarantee safe passage of commercial traffic through the Panama Canal, ensure its neutrality, and respect national sovereignty.
This multinational exercise strengthens interoperability and builds joint capabilities of the participating nations to plan and execute complex multinational operations.
"PANAMAX is a good opportunity to exchange knowledge and increase interoperability among the many partner nations that have a common interest in the safety and security of the Panama Canal," Lima Filho said.
PANAMAX is a U.S.-sponsored, multinational annual exercise that includes participants from Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States.
"As we complete this year's PANAMAX exercise I know that each of us will take away many good lessons from each other. I encourage all our partners in the Americas to continue to value the professional and personal bonds that were developed here as they will last for many years to come," Harris said.
COMUSNAVSO/C4F supports USSOUTHCOM joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.