Panama City being the capital city, had more than 4,500 personnel from 20 countries completed a 12-day exercise on September 22, after training in a joint multinational effort to ensure the security of the Panama Canal. FA PANAMAX is one of the largest multinational training exercises in the world, and took place in the waters off both coasts.
Twenty plus vessels and a dozen aircraft were involved in the exercise. Participants focused on a variety of responses to any request from the Government of Panama to protect and guarantee safe passage of traffic through the Panama Canal. Panama wishes to ensure its neutrality and the respect of national sovereignty for those using the canal. The nations participating in PANAMAX recognize the importance of the canal and the need to ensure it is protected if threatened in any way.
PANAMAX began in 2003 with three countries: Panama, Chile and the United States. Participation has greatly expanded every year since. During this last exercise participating nations were: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States and Uruguay. France and Mexico participated as observers. The Conference of Central American Armies, the Organization of American States and the United Nations also participated.