Expeditionary Fast Transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF-7) transited the Bosphorus Strait and entered the Black Sea last week, a first for the entire class of Military Sealift Command-operated ships.
Carson City will be “conducting routine operations in accordance with its primary mission of providing rapid transport of military equipment and personnel in theater,” according to a U.S. 6th Fleet news release. On Aug. 12, three days prior to Carson City’s entrance into the Black Sea, destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64) also entered the Black Sea for a routine patrol.
“The crew of Carson City and I are excited to be taking this ship through the Turkish Straits and into the Black Sea. Military Sealift Command, especially the expeditionary fast transport ships and their respective crews, have a lot to offer U.S. military and partner customers. We’re looking forward to contributing the services of Carson City toward whatever mission is necessary,” Capt. Jonathan Keffer, the civilian master of the ship, said in the news release.
Carson City has made several firsts for the class this year, exploring a new region of the world to the EPFs – whereas the ship class has been particularly active in the Pacific.
Carson City has been operating in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations for two years and is based out of Rota, Spain. Earlier this year it participated in the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2018 exercise in the Baltic Sea, supporting mine countermeasures operations and sailing through high-latitude sea and weather conditions in two more firsts for the ship class.
Though the Navy is exploring missions for the EPF such as supporting mine countermeasures operations and unmanned vehicle operations, serving as a command ship, hosting medical teams and more, the ship’s primary mission is high-speed intra-theater lift. The ship can haul 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, according to the Navy.