U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) transferred three patrol craft to the Egyptian Navy, March 21, during a formal ceremony in Alexandria, Egypt.

The transfer ceremony represents the culmination of weeks of preparation, training and professional exchanges between Egyptian and U.S. Navy Sailors. The U.S. Navy turned over former patrol coastal ships USS Hurricane (PC 3), USS Sirocco (PC 6), and USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) after sailing from Bahrain to Egypt during a month-long journey around the Arabian Peninsula, January through February.

“The Egypt-U.S. maritime partnership has been a fundamental pillar of our bilateral defense cooperation for decades,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “This transfer is yet another major milestone in our strong relationship that will enhance regional maritime security for years to come.”

During the 4,000-mile transit to Alexandria, U.S. and Egyptian crewmembers worked side-by-side safely navigating the three ships on a voyage that included port visits to Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates; Duqm, Oman; Djibouti; and Berenice, Egypt.

U.S. and Egyptian service members continued training after the ships arrived in Alexandria, Feb. 12. Classroom lessons included discussions on engineering, search and rescue, damage control and weapons handling.

“This transfer process was an incredible opportunity for our crews. It enabled us to strengthen our bilateral ties while enhancing our interoperability with a highly capable regional maritime partner,” said Capt. Anthony Webber, commander of Task Force 55, which oversees operations for U.S. 5th Fleet’s surface forces.

The Egyptian Navy currently commands Combined Task Force 153, one of four multinational task forces organized under U.S.-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). The task force coordinates multinational maritime security efforts in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb and Gulf of Aden.