Thursday, February 17, 2011

Enterprise Strike Group Transits Suez Canal, Enters US 5th Fleet

The Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) transits through the Suez Canal, entering the 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Electronics Technician Chief William Clay/Released)

USS ENTERPRISE, Red Sea (NNS) -- Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) transited the Suez Canal and entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Feb. 15.

Enterprise transited the canal along with guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) and fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8).

"Our ability to use the Suez Canal in a routine manner and according to long-standing plans demonstrates the ongoing stability of this important waterway," said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander, Enterprise CSG.

The 120-mile Suez Canal, constructed in 1869, runs north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in northeastern Egypt. It connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez, a northern arm of the Red Sea, and is overseen by the Egyptian military.

The canal provides a shortcut for ships operating between ports in the Mediterranean and Atlantic with ports located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, by avoiding the need to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in Southern Africa. The canal sees more than eight percent of global trade pass through its waters annually.

The process of getting through the canal is not easy for the 90,000-ton aircraft carrier. With an average width of 673 feet and only 79 feet in depth, the canal was not designed to accommodate ships of its size.

"It is an all-hands effort to safely transit the Suez Canal," said Cmdr. Christopher Saindon, the ship's navigator and senior watch officer. "Every department has a role to play. It requires teamwork and vigilance by all crew members."

Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing One are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR to conduct maritime security operations and to provide support to operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.