BLACK SEA –
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) and Military Sealift Command (MSC) Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8) began their regularly scheduled southbound transit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea after concluding maritime operations and exercises alongside NATO Allies and partners, July 16, 2021.
Ross entered the Black Sea, June 26, to participate in the 21st iteration of the U.S. and Ukrainian-led exercise Sea Breeze and departed following itsparticipation in the 25th iteration of the Bulgarian-led, multinational exercise Breeze.
Both exercises are designed to enhance participants’ interoperability and strengthen maritime security within the region.
During Exercise Sea Breeze, Ross, along with ships from the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Georgia, Italy, Romania, Turkey, and the United Kingdom sailed together to work on force integration and maritime maneuvering exercises.
"By participating in Exercises Sea Breeze and Breeze, we were able to demonstrate our shared commitment to security in the Black Sea region alongside our NATO Allies and partners," said Cmdr. John D. John, commanding officer of Ross. "As we head back through the Mediterranean Sea, we can take pride in the fact that we significantly enhanced peace and security through cooperation, collaboration, and interoperability during our time in the Black Sea."
On July 8, USNS Yuma entered the Black Sea for routine maritime operations in the region alongside Allies and partners. While in the Black Sea, Yuma conducted a brief stop in Batumi, Georgia, to strengthen bonds between the two countries and increase the network of Ally and partner operational support in the Black Sea.
The Black Sea is a critical waterway for maritime commerce and stability throughout Europe. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea to work with our NATO Allies and partners, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine. It is in the world’s best interest to maintain a stable, prosperous Black Sea region and deter aggressive actors who seek destabilization for their own gain.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates ships in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and International Law.
Ross, forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.