April 13, 2020 – Two U.S. 6th Fleet Forward-Deployed Naval Forces-Europe (FDNF-E) destroyers and a P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft are operating simultaneously in different major European Seas, April 13.
Rota-based Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) are operating in the Black and Baltic Seas, respectively, while a P-8A Poseidon, assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 and based out of Sigonella, Italy, is operating in the Mediterranean Sea.
These forward-deployed crews have taken appropriate coronavirus-related precautions to ensure they remain healthy throughout their operations in European waters.
“U.S. 6th Fleet remains at sea, ensuring maritime security and demonstrating our continued ability to operate in concert with allies and partners across the European theater,” said Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F).
Donald Cook entered the Baltic Sea, April 11, after participating in the U.K Submarine Command Course, where their team honed her anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Atlantic.
Porter began its northbound international straits transit to the Black Sea, April 13, to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness, and naval capability with our NATO allies and partners in the region.
“It is important during this time, where we take all the necessary precautions to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, that we also maintain our presence, readiness, training, and interoperability with our partners and allies,” said Capt. Joe Gagliano, commander, Destroyer Squadron 60, from his Rota, Spain headquarters.
P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft supported U.S. interests, and our partners and allies through coordinated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights in the Mediterranean, April 13.
“CTF 67 aircrews and staff have adjusted to a new normal that balances our operations to conform with physical distancing while remaining vigilant to potential threats across Europe and Africa,” said Capt. Bill Pennington, commander, Task Force 67, based in Sigonella, Italy.
While in the Baltic, Donald Cook will participate with European allies in maritime operations, which allow the U.S. Navy to continue refining skills with partner nations while ensuring it keeps crews safe in the face of COVID 19.
Porter’s Black Sea operations mark the second time a U.S. Navy warship been in the Black Sea since the beginning of 2020. USS Ross (DDG 71) visited the Black Sea in February, where they operated with Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria and conducted a port visit in Bulgaria.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.
The U.S. Navy and partner efforts in the Mediterranean are crucial to maritime security and economic prosperity, with 21 coastal nations bordering the sea. Forces deployed throughout the region, including those assigned to U.S. naval bases in Naples, Souda Bay, Sigonella, and Rota work continuously with partners and allies in support of three combatant commanders to conduct routine and contingency operations.
“Ninety percent of the world’s trade volume travels via maritime routes, so it is vitally important that all nations have access to the global commons,” said Franchetti. “The men and women forward deployed in the 6thFleet area of operations remain ready to ensure security and stability throughout the region.”