Argentina and Chile announced on Monday the launching of the annual naval exercise known as Viekaren (confidence in Yamana language) in the extreme south of the continent where the two countries territorial waters meet.
The purpose of the five-day exercise is to coordinate efforts between the two navies in the event of an emergency in the Beagle Channel area, particularly search and rescue operations, combating possible contamination outbreaks and overall confidence building between the two navies.
The activities are under the command and coordination of Chile's Beagle naval district, headed by Captain Jorge Montenegro Lopez and by the head of Argentina' Austral naval area chief of staff, Captain Walter Ernesto Dona.
”Eight naval units plus two air naval supports operating from Puerto Williams (Chile) and Ushuaia (Argentina) plus 300 men from both countries will be involved in the rescue simulation of a vessel in distress, said Captain Dona.
Given the repeat of foreign yacht rescues in the area of our responsibility, on this new chapter of operations we are targeting more complex activities combined with divers for emergencies underwater, as well as barriers for contention of possible spills in the high seas, said Chilean navy Captain Ismael Guzman.
The Viekaren” which were launched on Monday in Puerto Williams (Chile), will last until Saturday 30 August and end operations in Ushuaia when the combined command will be giving a press conference on the results of the fourteenth annual exercise.
Argentina and Chile on several occasions were on the edge of an armed conflict over the Beagle channel and Beagle islands, but following mediation from the Vatican and democratic governments in both countries, the dispute was overcome and in merit to that every year these annual confidence building exercises are performed.