The international maritime search & rescue and non-combatant evacuation five-day exercise “Argonaut 2019” concluded yesterday in Larnaca.
The exercise featured a table top exercise on the implementation of the National Plan ESTIA, daytime and nightime search and rescue missions and a live exercise on the implementation of ESTIA.
Over 20 countries participated in or observed the exercise. Argonaut included a scenario at Larnaca port simulating the arrival of large numbers of evacuees into Cyprus, with local authorities working alongside other nations to manage the situation.
The UK contribution to this year’s exercise included two officers from the UK Border Force, a team of Foreign Office officials including five officers from Rapid Deployment Teams, the Regional Crisis Adviser for Europe South, as well as a Planner and the Deputy Head of the Foreign Office’s Crisis Management Department. Two consular officers from the British High Commission in Nicosia and Tel Aviv also participated.
The 150 crew members of the HMS Duncan also took part in the drill. The SBAs also contributed with the 84 Squadron and other members of the British Forces in Cyprus.
British High Commissioner, Stephen Lillie, said: “These exercises are of great importance and we are proud to participate. I am sure participants’ are in a better position to respond to any potential crisis. We value our cooperation with Cyprus in crisis response and will continue developing it, to the benefit of both countries”
The general aim of Argonaut 2019 was the development and interoperability between the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus, the EU Member States and third countries during the management of humanitarian crises in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean.