USS Taylor in Batumi port, May 8, 2014. Photo: press office of Adjara Autonomous Republic’s government
U.S. Navy frigate USS Taylor arrived in Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi on May 8 for a three-day port visit.
“Taylor’s presence in Georgia reaffirms the United States’ commitment to strengthening ties with NATO allies and partners like Georgia, while working toward mutual goals of promoting peace and stability in the region,” the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.
“While in Georgia, Taylor will host ship tours and a reception for local officials. The crew will also conduct training with the Georgia Coast Guard in visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), maritime medical care, career development systems and leadership ethics,” it said.
PM Irakli Garibashvili said at a government session on May 8 that the visit of the U.S. warship underlines once again “friendship” between the U.S. and Georgia. He expressed “regret” that won’t be able to visit the warship because of tight schedule.
It is USS Taylor’s second visit to Georgia; the first time when the frigate made a port visit in Georgia was in December, 2008, when it arrived in the port of Poti.
The last time when U.S. warship visited Georgia was in November, 2013, when the U.S. 6th Fleet flagship, USS Mount Whitney, made a three-day port call in Batumi and conducted combined training exercises with the Georgian coast guard.
USS Taylor, which returned in the Black Sea late last month, completed on May 6 joint live-fire exercise and an anti-submarine warfare scenario along with four Romanian ships.
The French intelligence-gathering ship Dupuy de Lôme made a port visit in Batumi in late April.
The U.S. 6th Fleet said in press release that USS Taylor’s joint exercises with the Romanian warships “aimed at improving maritime capabilities and reassuring our NATO allies and partners of our commitment to the alliance and to their security.”
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, tweeted on May 7: “Allied ships, planes, exercises show vigilance & resolve from Baltic to the Black Sea. We’ll keep reinforcing NATO security.”