PHOTO: US Navy Warship USS Donald Cook Enters the Black Sea

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) sails alongside Georgian coast guard ships in the Black Sea, last year, on Jan. 25, 2019. Donald Cook, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is now on its 11th patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ford Williams/Released)

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) transited into the Black Sea in support of NATO Allies and partners this week, the U.S. Navy said.

While in the Black Sea, Donald Cook will conduct routine maritime security operations that support regional stability.

Donald Cook recently began its 11th patrol of the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of responsibility in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.

“Operating in the Black Sea signifies our commitment to partners and allies in the region,” said Cmdr. Kelley Jones, commanding officer of Donald Cook. “It is an important diplomatic mission, and Donald Cook has enjoyed the hospitality of Black Sea countries many times before.”

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.

This is the seventh time a U.S. Navy ship has visited the Black Sea since the beginning of 2020. The last ship to visit the region was USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) in September.

The ship’s operations in the Black Sea strengthens interoperability among NATO allies and partners and demonstrate collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve.

Four U.S. Navy destroyers, including Donald Cook, are 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.

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.

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