USS Fort McHenry, a large dock landing ship of the US Navy, will spend three days at the Romanian Port of Constanţa and then take part in an exercise with the frigate King Ferdinand, the website of the Romanian Navy reports.
“Leaving the port on Thursday, January 10, USS Fort McHenry and the Frigate King Ferdinand will conduct a series of joint training activities in the territorial waters of Romania and the international waters of the Black Sea,” the report states.
The American ship arrived in Romania on January 7. According to the Navy Times, it is the first US naval ship to be sent to the Black Sea following the Kerch Strait incident, in which Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels.
The Command of the US Sixth Fleet explained that the ship was being sent to the region to ensure security in the Black Sea and to strengthen Washington’s ties to its allies in the region. The ship is armed with two Mk38 guns, an anti-air missile launcher, as well as machine guns and a Phalanx anti-air artillery system.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the patrol vessel Pytlivy (curious) would be closely monitoring the actions of the Fort McHenry.
The US Navy later pointed out that American ships visit the Black Sea regularly, and observe both the relevant international laws and the Montreux Convention, which stipulates that ships from non-Black Sea countries may not remain in its waters for longer than 21 days.