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By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS San Juan (SSN 751) conducted a brief stop for supplies and personnel off Iceland’s west coast while operating in the High North, April 26, 2023.
San Juan’s presence in the region comes after the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs informed the United States that U.S. Navy submarines will be allowed to make such short visits in Iceland to receive supplies and exchange crew members, as the Allies work to increase monitoring and response capacity in the North Atlantic.
This visit enhances regional maritime domain awareness and increases the safety of underwater infrastructure such as submarine cables. It also paves the way for future stops as needed and as supportable.
"We thank our Icelandic Allies for allowing San Juan to conduct this brief stop for supplies and personnel in Icelandic waters," said Capt. John Craddock, Commander Task Force 69. "This visit demonstrates the strength of the Iceland-U.S. strategic relationship and our mutual commitment to maritime domain awareness and increased response capabilities in the Arctic and North Atlantic. The ability to conduct these stops out of Iceland greatly increases our operational flexibility in the Greenland-Iceland-U.K. Gap.”
Iceland and the United States, both founding members of NATO, enjoy a decades-long strategic relationship built on a foundation of shared values and common approaches to regional challenges and opportunities. Iceland has provided host country support to U.S. and Allied maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) from Keflavik Air Base.
Iceland also hosted exercise Northern Viking in April 2022, a joint and coalition live exercise which strengthened interoperability and force readiness among Iceland, the U.S., and Allied nations, and is currently supporting NATO’s annual anti-submarine warfare exercise Dynamic Mongoose.
Allowing U.S. submarines in Icelandic waters is part of Iceland's defense commitments and an important contribution to the common defense of the NATO member states. San Juan does not carry nuclear weapons and its visit comes in cooperation with Iceland’s Radiation Protection Authority, Coast Guard and the Office of the Inspector General of Police.
For more than 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.