AKSAZ, Turkey: The trilateral maritime search and rescue exercise Reliant Mermaid 2009, a four-day series of evolutions in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, will commence Aug. 17.

Maritime forces from Israel, Turkey and the United States are scheduled to participate in cooperative activities involving in-port harbor training, at-sea search and rescue scenarios and post-exercise discussions, each geared to enhance interoperability and strengthen ongoing maritime partnerships.

Contributing U.S. forces will consist of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Stout (DDG 55) as well as staff members from U.S. 6th Fleet.

The annual humanitarian search and rescue exercise enables participants to increase the ability to share information and provides Sailors from each nation the opportunity to familiarize themselves with other navies’ operating procedures.

The exercise will contribute to overall joint readiness in response to possible future humanitarian assistance efforts or maritime search and rescue operations in the region.