U.S. 6th Fleet, USS Mount Whitney visit Sevastopol

SEVASTAPOL, Ukraine — U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet and Ukrainian First Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Vice Adm. Vladimir Maximov watch as the color guard parades the colors during a ceremony aboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20), here Nov. 6. Sevastapol is the second Black Sea engagement in a week, following meetings Saturday by Clingan with the Chief of Romanian Naval Forces in Constanta, Romania. The official calls by Clingan and port visits by Mount Whitney are a prelude to the upcoming, U.S. Sixth Fleet-led Black Sea Partnership Cruise (BSPC), an annual multinational event designed to strengthen ongoing partnerships and enhance interoperability among Black Sea nations. Mount Whitney will serve as the underway training platform for BSPC. (Department of Defense photo by Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Holmes)

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — In concert with the arrival of USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) in port here Nov. 7, 2008, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, commander of the U.S 6th Fleet, met with the Ukrainian First Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Adm. Vladimir Maximov.

The visit is the second Black Sea engagement in a week, following meetings Nov. 1 by Clingan with the Chief of Romanian Naval Forces in Constanta, Romania, on the topic of Black Sea maritime partnerships.

"In the wake of a productive visit to Romania just last week, we're fortunate to have this opportunity to meet with our Ukrainian partners. I'm grateful for the strong ties that exist between our nations and our militaries, and I am confident that our cooperative efforts in the Black Sea are realizing the idea of Global Maritime Partnerships and achieving greater regional stability and security," said Clingan.

The official calls by Clingan and port visits by Mount Whitney are a prelude to the upcoming, U.S. 6th Fleet-led Black Sea Partnership Cruise (BSPC), an annual multinational event designed to strengthen ongoing partnerships and enhance interoperability among Black Sea nations. During the event, Mount Whitney will serve as an underway training platform.

While in port Sevastopol, a reception will be held aboard Mount Whitney for Ukrainian military and civic leaders. Additionally, 17 Ukrainian Navy personnel will embark the ship to participate in the BSPC, which commences November 10th. Sixty-five representatives from Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; Estonia; Georgia; Greece; Latvia; Lithuania; Poland; Romania; Ukraine; and the United States will participate in the BSPC evolution this year. The at-sea period includes workshops for helicopter control operations, junior officer and noncommissioned officer development, interoperability discussions, and an oil spill containment scenario.

Mount Whitney, home ported in Gaeta, Italy, is the third U.S. 6th Fleet ship to visit Sevastopol since August, when USCGC Dallas made a port call here following the offload of 34 tons of humanitarian assistance to Georgia in support of Operation Assured Delivery. In September, USNS Pathfinder visited Sevastopol in conjunction with oceanographic survey being conducted at the request of Ukraine; Pathfinder found and identified fifteen shipwrecks in the countryyâ?s territorial waters. U.S. 6th Fleet assets routinely operate in the Black Sea to further develop partnerships, to enhance interoperability, and to promote regional maritime safety and security.

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