The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) arrived in Varna, Bulgaria, Feb. 27 for a scheduled port visit, as part of continued Black Sea presence and support to regional partners by U.S. Navy vessels.
The ship will host local officials in the Bulgarian navy and Varna government. for tours of the ship before a luncheon to discuss bilateral naval exercises. These operations support regional maritime stability, combined readiness, and naval capability with NATO allies and Black Sea partners.
The commanding officer of the USS Ross, Cmdr. John D. John, will visit the Varna city hall to meet with the mayor, followed by a visit to the area naval headquarters to confer with the Bulgarian Chief of Naval Operations.
“We are excited to join our partners in the Black Sea to demonstrate a continued resolve towards security and interoperability,” said Cmdr. John. “Ross’ return to Varna is also a great opportunity for the crew to experience Bulgarian culture.”
Ross is the first U.S. naval vessel to conduct operations in the Black Sea in 2020, following a visit in December 2019 earlier on her 9th patrol. The ship entered the Black Sea on February 23rd, 2020 to strengthen relationships with NATO allies and partners through joint exercises and to demonstrate the shared dedication to Black Sea security. Ross visited Varna, Bulgaria, last year in April.
The United States maintains a strong partnership with Bulgaria. All four forward deployed Naval Forces- Europe ships have visited or worked with Bulgaria in the last 12 months. Bulgaria also participated in Exercise Sea Breeze, demonstrating commitment to the security of the Black Sea.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea, consistent with the Montreux Convention and international law.
Ross, forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations on a routine patrol 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.