ODESSA, Ukraine – Vice Adm. Frank C. Pandolfe, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, commemorated the start of the Ukrainian-led, international maritime exercise Sea Breeze 2012 (SB12) at the opening ceremony, July 9.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the largest maritime exercise held each year in the Black Sea. The exercise, scheduled to conclude July 21, includes 18 participant and observer nations, and focuses on improving maritime safety, security and stability in this vital region of the world.
“Sea Breeze brings together not only nations from the Black Sea region, but other nations that have an interest in maintaining maritime security in various parts of the world,” Vice Adm. Pandolfe said.
This year’s participants include Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine and U.S., along with Algeria, Bangladesh, Israel, Portugal, Qatar, Sweden, and UAE, as observers.
U.S. units participating in the exercise include the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109); USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51); a Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit detachment based in Little Creek, Va.; and a P-3C detachment from Patrol Squadron 9 (VP 9) from Honolulu.
“Sea Breeze is focused on achieving a goal shared by all of us to achieve a region free of threats through cooperative security,” Vice Adm. Pandolfe said at the exercise’s opening ceremony.
“As our global and regional security environments change, multinational cooperation such as that practiced in Sea Breeze will become increasingly important,” Vice Adm. Pandolfe said. “Our continued commitment to working together in partnerships by way of regional alliances and friendships will allow us to achieve a more secure future together.”
SB12, an annual multinational exercise in the Black Sea, is a combined air, land and maritime exercise designed to improve maritime safety, security and stability in the Black Sea by enhancing the capabilities of Partnership for Peace and Black Sea regional maritime security forces.