The four-day international maritime search & rescue and non-combatant evacuation exercise “Argonaut 2018” is taking place in Larnaca.
Argonaut’s scenario this year simulates a non-combatant evacuation from the Levant into Cyprus.
Over 40 countries are participating in or will be observing the exercise - these include Britain, France, Greece, Italy and the USA.
“The UK gives great importance to these exercises"
It will include a search and rescue phase at the end of the week and a live exercise 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 contributes in this year’s exercise with its biggest ever number of participants, including three officers from the UK Border Force, a team of Foreign Office officials including four officers from Rapid Deployment Teams and the Senior Planner from the Crisis Management Department, as well as officers from Department for International Development.
Two consular officers from the British High Commission will also be participating.
Additionally, 20 volunteers from the British community on the island will take part, helping to make the exercise as realistic as possible with their acting skills which will be used for the live elements both at the Kition Handling Centre and at the Port at Larnaca.
For the first time this year, British maritime assets -namely HMS Echo - will take part in Argonaut.
Last but not least, military officers from the Sovereign Base Areas will also participate in the exercise.
British Deputy High Commissioner, Ian Whitting, said: “The UK gives great importance to these exercises which help participants learn how to respond in times of crisis. We will continue working towards strengthening our cooperation with Cyprus in crisis response, to the benefit of both countries”.
Argonaut is an annual exercise aiming to demonstrate the preparedness of all participants to respond to potential crisis scenarios.