April 30 (UPI) — The Navy’s 27th Rim of the Pacific exercise will be an at-sea-only event this year in light of concerns about the novel coronavirus, the service announced Thursday.
According to the Navy, the biennial exercise is designed to minimize shore-based contingents that typically participate.
The Rim of the Pacific, which takes place in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian islands, is the world’s largest international training exercise, with 26 nations participating in 2018.
The event is scheduled for Aug. 17-31.
“In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that our maritime forces work together to protect vital shipping lanes and ensure freedom of navigation through international waters,” Admiral John Aquilino, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement. “And we will operate safely, using prudent mitigation measures.”
Several military exercises have been canceled or curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the end of March, the Navy postponed Large Scale Exercise 2020 until 2021 due to concerns about the virus.
Earlier that month the U.S. European Command’s participation in the Defender-Europe 20 combat exercises was curtailed, and EUCOM and Norwegian allies ended Cold Response, a large-scale Arctic exercise scheduled for early March, as the virus spread.