Operation Unitas, which brings together naval forces from Brazil and 19 other countries, starts this Saturday (10th) its maritime activities along the Brazilian coast. According to the Brazilian Navy, this is the oldest ongoing multinational naval exercise in the world, and it is in its 63rd edition.
Last year, the operation was carried out on the Peruvian coast. This year’s operation extends until the next day 22.
In addition to military maneuvers, search and rescue training will be carried out in partnership with the Argentine and Uruguayan Navy. “Brazil rescues hundreds of people every year, in difficult conditions, at sea and in our rivers, so there will also be search and rescue training,” said Brazilian Navy Commander Admiral Almir Garnier Santos.
The exercises will be conducted between the south coast of Rio de Janeiro and the south of Espírito Santo, which includes the oil fields of the Campos Basin.
“The exercises are about all the traditional maneuvers we exercise at sea, whether approaching ships to transfer cargo, or maneuvering submarine operations, air operations, air combat,” said the squadron commander, Admiral Arthur Bettega.
In addition to Brasi, participating in this year’s edition of Unitas United States, Belize, Cameroon, Colombia, Chile, South Korea, Ecuador, Spain, France, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.
Also today, in celebration of the Bicentennial of Brazil’s Independence, President Jair Bolsonaro reviewed the approximately 20 ships participating in Operation Unitas.
According to the Navy commander, a similar event took place on the Centennial of Independence, in 1922. “What is a naval magazine? It is an act of deference by ships from friendly countries to an important authority in the country. In general, this is done for presidents of the Republic. In 1922, President Epitácio Pessoa was aboard the cruiser Barroso, for example.”
According to the Brazilian Navy, the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of Brazilian independence should be held until 2023. In November of this year, for example, the 200th anniversary of the country’s Fleet is celebrated. “The Navy was fundamental in the consolidation of independence because, at that time, there were no roads or railways. It was as if [os estados e cidades brasileiras] were several islands: the island of Bahia, the island of Recife, the island of Rio de Janeiro. The way to integrate the nation was through navigation”, explained the Navy commander.
“Independence was declared on September 7, 1822, by Dom Pedro I, but it had to be consolidated, because the country is very large and there were many interests at stake”, added Admiral Arthur Bettega.
*With information from Cristiane Ribeiro, reporter for Radiojornalismo