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DARDANELLES STRAIT (NNS) — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) began its north-bound transit of the Dardanelles Strait, en route to the Black Sea April 14 to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness and naval capability with NATO allies and partners in the region. 

This is the fourth U.S. ship to visit the Black Sea since the beginning of 2019. The last ship to visit the Black Sea was USS Donald Cook (DDG 64) in February. 

“Our allies in the Black Sea continue to play a key role in maintaining security in the European theater,” Cmdr. Dave Coles, commanding officer of Ross, said. “The crew and I look forward to enhancing our interoperability in a dynamic environment as well as experiencing the rich history and culture in this region.” 

The ship’s operations in the Black Sea will strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve. 

The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, as well as with the Montreux Convention. 

Ross, forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. 

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.