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About 1,300 sailors and Marines are taking part in a multination exercise in the western Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic Ocean through June 13.

Exercise Phoenix Express began May 30 and includes the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan, frigate USS Simpson, and military forces from Morocco, Algeria, France and Spain.

The exercise is designed to develop the nations’ maritime proficiency and strengthen their partnerships, according to a 6th Fleet news release.

The forces will take part in different training scenarios and test helicopter operations, search and rescue, maritime interception operations, maritime maneuvering, refueling at sea and communications.

Ships also will test the Automatic Information System, a commercial, off-the-shelf system that detects and identifies ships to participating nations, according to the release.

The Saipan is homeported in Norfolk, Va., and the Simpson in Mayport, Fla.

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