Russia Tracking First U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Visit to the Black Sea in More than 12 Years

April 27, 2021 3:34 PM - Updated: May 3, 2021 9:47 AM
USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753) transited Bosphorus towards the Black Sea on April 27, 2021. Photo by Yörük Işık‏ used with permission

A Coast Guard Cutter is now in the Black Sea, a first for the service since 2008, U.S. 6th fleet said in a Tuesday statement.

Legend-class National Security Cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753) passed through the Bosphorus strait in support of NATO operations in the region.

“The last U.S. Coast Guard Cutter to visit the Black Sea, USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716) sailed to the Black Sea twice, in 2008 and 1995,” reads the statement.

The rare transit comes as part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s latest long-range mission emanating from the East Coast.

Hamilton is on a patrol in 6th Fleet and transited the Atlantic with USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC-1141) and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC-1142). The two Sentinel-class fast response cutters are in the Mediterranean and will continue to their new homeport of Manama, Bahrain. The Coast Guard has maintained a pair of cutters in the Persian Gulf, in part to support the security of Iraqi oil terminals.

Shortly after the transit, Russian officials issued a statement saying their Black Sea forces were monitoring Hamilton during its time in the waters.

“Russian Foreign Ministry repeatedly noted that military presence of non-regional powers in the Black Sea does not facilitate the regional stability,” reported state-controlled TASS newswire.

Hamilton’s entry follows the cancelation of the transit of two U.S. destroyers that were slated to cross into the Black Sea earlier this month, as Russia was massing troops on the border with Ukraine. Under the Montreux Convention, the rules that govern military movements in the Black Sea, countries that don’t have a shore must notify their intent to cross the Bosphorus several days in advance. Turkish officials reported that the two destroyers were intending to enter the region, but U.S. officials never confirmed the operation.

Last month, cruiser USS Monterey (CG-61) and destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116) – both assigned to the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group – operated in the Black Sea.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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