A destroyer from U.S. 5th Fleet completed a combined patrol in the Arabian Sea, March 23-24, with ships from Spain and Italy operating under European Union Naval Forces Operation Atalanta.

USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), Spanish Navy frigate ESPS Reina Sofia (F 84) and Italian Navy frigate ITS Carlo Bergamini (F 590) participated in a two-day professional exchange on boarding procedures, ship navigation and training designed to improve interoperability and integration.

“We improved our overall ability to integrate and operate together as a multinational maritime force,” said Cmdr. Jake Ferrari, Paul Hamilton’s commanding officer. “The experience was extremely valuable for me and my crew.”

Paul Hamilton is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region.

The combined sail took place within the framework of the European Union and United States patrolling international waters together, as both partners pursue enhanced maritime cooperation to support freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of the sea.

The U.S. 5th Fleet operating area includes 21 countries, the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandeb and Suez Canal.