NEWS | July 10, 2021

Ships from Eight Countries Sail Together in the Black Sea for Exercise Sea Breeze 2021

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. Navy Sailors assigned the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS ROSS (DDG-71) along with ships from the United States, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Italy, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, sailed together in the Black Sea conducting maritime training as part of Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 (SB21), June 28 – July 10.

The ships got underway from the port of Odesa on July 30th to begin work on force integration and combat enhancement through July 2nd.  This phase of the exercise allows the multinational task groups to work on interoperability so that they can work together smoothly throughout the exercise and in future operations. 

“Exercise Sea Breeze is a tangible example of how the United States stands beside Ukraine on the front lines of Russian aggression,” said Col. Brittany Stewart, U.S. Embassy Kyiv Defense Attaché. “This exercise demonstrates Ukraine's growing maritime security relationship with the United States and the 32 other participating Allies and partners.”

Other ships that joined the exercise included: UKR BG FS HRYHORIY KUROPIATNYKOV (Ukraine), BGR BODRY (Bulgaria), ROS MACELLARIU (Romania), HMS TRENT (U.K.) and staffs from NATO SNMG-2.

The tactical execution of the maritime exercise took place from July 6-9 and included detailed serials in which the ships practiced tracking submarines, engaging aircraft, and surface engagements.

“Sea Breeze continues to demonstrate global unity in preserving Black Sea stability,” said Capt. Joseph Gagliano, deputy commander, Task Force 65.  “After 21 years of Sea Breeze, and with more than 30 nations participating this year, maintaining stability there is truly an international issue.”

SB21 provides the opportunity for personnel of participating nations to engage in realistic maritime training to build experience and teamwork and strengthen our interoperability as we work toward mutual goals. 

“The message that it sends is that international airspace and waters are for everybody, it doesn't belong to one country” said Cmdr. John D. John, commander of USS Ross.

Beginning in 1997, Exercise Sea Breeze brings most Black Sea nations and NATO Allies and partners together to train and operate with NATO members in the pursuit of building increased capability. 

For SB21, 31 ships conducted 175 serials and training events throughout the Black Sea to include Air, Surface, and Subsurface warfare drills to build upon interoperability in the Black Sea region.

SB21 is taking place from June 28 to July 10 in the Black Sea region and focuses on multiple warfare areas including diving operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, and search and rescue operations. 

Ukraine and U.S. are cohosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from NATO allies and partners from around the globe. 

U.S. participation includes the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Marines from 2D Marine Division and 2ND Marine Logistics Group, Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet staff.

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. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention. 

Ross is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and assigned to Commander, Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture. These Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe ships have the flexibility to operate throughout the waters of Europe and Africa, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle, demonstrating their mastery of the maritime domain.

CTF 65 and Destroyer Squadron 60, headquartered in Rota, Spain, oversee the FDNF of C6F’s area of operation in support of regional allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 is an annual multinational maritime exercise, involving sea, land, and air components, and is co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine to enhance interoperability and capability among participating forces in the Black Sea region.

U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.