Navies from more than 30 countries are taking part in anti-mine exercises in the Persian Gulf.
Mindful of tension between the West and Iran, an admiral from the US Navy cited the need for nations to practice detecting and removing mines so that future work together can run smoothly – regardless of who drops them.
The drills, led by the US military, are taking place in the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden, avoiding the busy shipping route in the Strait of Hormuz.
About 20 vessels from countries including Britain and Japan are taking part in the exercises, which are being described as purely defensive and the largest of their kind focusing on mines.
Although no drills will take place in the Strait of Hormuz, the exercises could be seen as a message to Iranian officials who have threatened to block the route which is used for 40 percent of sea-borne oil exports.
Earlier in the week, Tehran deployed a submarine in the Persian Gulf.