March 3, 2020 – USS Ross (DDG 71) conducted lifesaving emergency search-and-rescue operations for a civilian Turkish vessel in the Sea of Marmara while conducting her southbound transit from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, March 3, 2020.
Late Tuesday morning, lookouts onboard Ross spotted smoke plumes rising from a small vessel in the Sea of Marmara. Ross quickly deployed her small boat, outfitted with two search-and-rescue swimmers and one corpsman, to rescue distressed crewmembers and render assistance. U.S. Sailors were able to rescue three mariners. Additionally, Ross crew members recovered two deceased mariners.
The crewmembers were brought aboard and provided immediate medical attention. Ross coordinated with the Turkish Coast Guard to transfer the crewmembers ashore. A fleet of Turkish patrol craft guarded Ross from the surrounding traffic as Ross lowered all crewmembers onto a Turkish search-and-rescue craft to return them ashore for further medical attention.
“In accordance with international law of the sea and maritime custom, the U.S. Navy assists mariners in distress, just as any other as any other mariner would,” said Cmdr. J. D. John, commanding officer of USS Ross. “This demonstrates the multi-mission capability of Ross and our ability to respond rapidly to any situation”
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.