Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau
A multinational naval fleet is ported in Key West on Monday, Sept. 17 during the first day of UNITAS 2012, a two-week joint maritime training exercise bringing together ships and crews from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the U.S. It's the largest gathering of naval firepower in Key West, since 1974, officials said.
Ships from seven countries are participating in the largest gathering of naval firepower in Key West since 1974.
Ceremonies to kick off UNITAS 2012, a two-week, multi-national Navy exercise began Monday, with 13 ships from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic participating.
UNITAS, which is Latin for "unity," is the longest-running joint naval exercise that prepares the nations for a cooperative response to various maritime situations. The countries are training together in undersea warfare, air defense, amphibious operations and other operations.
The ships are expected to depart Key West on Thursday to begin sea operations in the western Caribbean. Naval vessel operations ceased in Key West in 1974, though the naval air station remains a strategic air base.