A NATO Mine Countermeasure Force (South) fleet of some 20 mine sweepers sailed in to Palma yesterday ahead of manouevres in Majorcan waters which start next week. Although the Royal Navy is not taking part because of active commitments elsewhere, MCMFOR(S), moored in the Porto Pi naval base, is an operational mine countermeasures capability permanently available in the Mediterranean and poised for action in peacetime, crisis or conflict. This important force normally comprises eight mine hunters/sweepers and a support ship from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. The MCMFOR(S), as all of NATO's naval immediate reaction forces, operates as an integral unit whether participating in exercises or conducting real world operational missions. It is employed primarily in the Allied Forces South area of responsibility but, as required, is available outside of the Mediterranean.

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