US warship pays first visit to Egypt’s Berenice Naval Base


The United States Navy’s guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) visited Egypt’s Berenice Naval Base on 12 August, marking the first time a US warship has pulled into the Red Sea base, which officially opened in January 2020.

Monterey is deployed to the US 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. Prior to the Egyptian visit, Monterey took part in a small naval exercise with the Egyptian Navy.

During the visit to Berenice, the ship hosted Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF); Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed, commander of the Egyptian Naval Force; US Ambassador to Egypt, Jonathan R. Cohen; and Commodore Waleed Aly Atiaa, commanding officer of Berenice Naval Base.

The group toured the ship, spoke with crew members and participated in a gift exchange with Monterey’s commanding officer, Captain Joseph A Baggett, the US Embassy in Cairo reported.

“I am honored that Monterey was able to conduct this historic first visit to the Berenice Naval Base,” said Baggett. “I’m also extremely proud of the hard work this crew has put into this and every other opportunity we’ve had to operate alongside regional partners throughout our deployment.”

Ambassador Cohen noted: “This visit exemplifies the strength of US-Egyptian maritime cooperation. Together we are combating smuggling, trafficking, and piracy, and ensuring safety at sea.”

In April, Egypt became the 34th member of CMF, a multinational coalition formed in 2002 and committed to upholding the rules-based international order by countering illicit non-state actors, safeguarding freedom of navigation, and promoting security, stability, and prosperity.