The U.S. command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) has left the Black Sea after several port calls with allies in the region, according to a Tuesday release from U.S. 6th Fleet.
The ship, along with guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67), originally entered the Black Sea in mid-Octobober as part of an ongoing pressence mission following the forced Russian annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in March.
“During our time in the Black Sea, we enhanced our partnerships with Georgia, Romania and Bulgaria, taking part in every opportunity to meet face-to-face with our navy counterparts, and participating in multiple bilateral engagements both ashore and at sea,” Mount Whitney commanding officer Capt. Mark Colombo said int eh Tuesday statement.
The 19,000-ton ship, based in Gaeta, Italy, conducted exercises with the Georgian Coast Guard and the Romanian Navy.
Mount Whitney and Cole are the latest U.S. ships to operate in the Black Sea as part of a near constant presence mission since the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
French signals intelligence ship, Dupuy de Lôme (A759), has moved in and out of the region for months. The French have additionally sent at least two frigates in and out of the Black Sea.
All warships from countries without a coast on the Black Sea operate under the 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits.
Montreux rules call for foreign warships to depart the Black Sea after 21 days.