USS Nitze (DDG-94) stopped on the edge of the Bosphorus Strait, on its way to make a port call in Turkey, USNI News understands. It’s the closest a U.S. warship has been to the Ukraine-Russia war since it started nearly a year ago.
Nitze was seen by ship spotters at the lower edge of the strait on Friday. Turkey closed the Bosphorus Strait to warships on Feb. 28, 2022, four days after Russia invaded Ukraine. Since the closure, only warships with ports on the Black Sea, which includes Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and Turkish ships, can enter.
The last American warship to transit the strait was USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), which left the Black Sea on Dec. 15, 2021. The ship entered the Black Sea in November 2021 following a port visit in Bulgaria, USNI News previously reported.
U.S. 6th Fleet confirmed in a tweet that Nitze anchored off Instabul’s coast ahead of a scheduled port call at Gölcük Naval Base.
A beautiful day in Istanbul! @usnavy destroyer #USSNitze (DDG 94), attached to the @GHWBCVN77 CSG, anchored off the coast of Istanbul while visiting #Türkiye for a scheduled port call, Feb. 3.
The ship will moor in Gölcük later today.
: @USEmbassyTurkey and @ABDIstanbul pic.twitter.com/cEJHY7DvI8
— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet (@USNavyEurope) February 3, 2023
USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) also made a scheduled port call Friday, with the ship arriving at Piraeus, Greece, according to a release from the CSG.
During the port call, Bush leadership will meet with Greek leaders as part of U.S. efforts to strengthen NATO relationships. Sailors on the ship will have a chance to explore Piraeus and Athens.
“Our mission on deployment has been to work closely with our partners and NATO Allies in order to deter, and if necessary, defend the Alliance,” CSG commander Rear Adm. Dennis Velez said in the release. “Port visits like this one provide an opportunity for us to engage with our Allies and develop meaningful relationships that make a substantive difference across our force.”
The strike group’s cruiser, USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), also made a port call in Greece on Jan. 30, 6th Fleet announced earlier this week. Leyte Gulf pulled in at Souda Bay, Greece.
“The port visit is part of Leyte Gulf’s planned mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR) maintenance period and allows Leyte Gulf Sailors much-deserved leisure time while taking in the sights, art, history and food of Crete,” according to the release.
The George H.W. Bush CSG deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in August, replacing the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, which had been operating there since December. Both carrier strike groups have gone under NATO control while operating in U.S. 6th Fleet’s area of responsibility.