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25 Oct, 2016 15:19

Aegis destroyer USS Carney enters Black Sea to replace US 6th Fleet flagship

Aegis destroyer USS Carney enters Black Sea to replace US 6th Fleet flagship

The guided missile destroyer USS Carney is visiting the Romanian port of Constanta, just after the Sixth Fleet’s flagship, the USS Mount Whitney, left the Black Sea.

The American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed to Romania, a Black Sea NATO member, from its forward deployment base of Rota, Spain, where it finished scheduled maintenance last Tuesday. It entered the Black Sea on Monday, a day after the USS Mount Whitney had left the area.

“It’s great to be back in the Black Sea. It’s been 20 years since my last visit to the Black Sea and I’m looking forward to strengthening relations and interoperability with our friends and allies in the area and promoting maritime security and stability in the region,” said USS Carney’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Ken Pickard.

It’s the first deployment of the Aegis-equipped destroyer to the Black Sea since it joined the US Sixth Fleet.

NATO allies decided to increase their presence in the Black Sea during a summit in Warsaw in July. The alliance claims this is in response to Russia’s increasing military capabilities and is a gesture of support to member states in Eastern Europe.

However, the US’ ability to deploy warships to the Black Sea is hampered by an international treaty, which allows only temporary and limited deployment for nations which have no direct access to the area. The possible creation of a NATO Black Sea flotilla comprised of ships owned by the region’s allies is currently under discussion.