US navy boosting presence in Greek waters
USS Mitscher Commander Ian Scaliatine on Monday welcomed a small group of Greek journalists for a tour of the Piraeus-docked destroyer, confirming an increased American presence in Greece's seas over recent weeks.
“Our presence in the Mediterranean and out cooperation with the Greeks is vital to security in this extremely important region,” Scaliatine was quoted as saying in translated comments on Monday.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer arrived in Piraeus on April 13 for a scheduled port visit that is aimed at enhancing US-Greek relations, with the ship’s presence in the Mediterranean Sea “seen as a demonstration of Washington's continued commitment to collective security in the region,” the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa command said in an announcement.
USS Mitscher’s port visit in Piraeus is “another demonstration of our view of Greece as a pillar of regional stability,” it added.
“The people of Greece gave us a very warm reception,” Scaliatine said on the USS Mitscher's arrival at Piraeus. “The crew is very excited to explore the history of Athens and learn more about Greek culture.”
Commenting on Monday's initiative, the US Embassy thanked Scaliatine in a tweet.
“Many thanks to the #USSMitscher, Commander Scaliatine and crew for welcoming a group of Greek media for an impressive tour of the ship. Great to hear how important it is to work with our international partners to ensure regional security and free and open waterways. #WeAreNATO,” it said.
The USS Mitscher is one of several allied vessels that are in Greece right now, including a British warship and the French frigate Languedoc, which are currently also docked at Piraeus.
US warships have also sailed into the port of Rhodes and the Souda naval base in Crete in recent weeks. [Kathimerini/Combined reports]