NORFOLK -- The guided-missile frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47) returned to Naval Station Norfolk today, marking the successful completion of her final six-month deployment. The ship deployed on Jan. 20 of this year and traveled to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet Areas of Responsibility where she supported Maritime Security and Counter-Piracy operations, promoted theater security cooperation efforts and conducted missions in support of Operation Active Endeavor, Operation Ocean Shield and Exercise FRUKUS 2013 with the British, French and Russian navies.
On Feb. 13, Nicholas transited the Suez Canal, entering the Arabian Sea where she spent the next five months conducting maritime security operations.
"Ninety percent of international cargo is moved by ship," said Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Cory Blaser. "Conducting counter-piracy operations and establishing a presence helps to ensure safety and freedom of navigation which is critical to the world's economy."
While in the region, Nicholas provided assistance to the cargo bulk carrier M/V Atlantic Confident, who suffered an engineering casualty that led to the vessel taking on water. Additionally Nicholas filled escort duties for two U.S. submarines; conducting four Suez Canal transits.
The crew made port calls in Djibouti, Djibouti; Muscat, Oman; and Manama, Bahrain, where they enjoyed liberty, conducted maintenance on the ship and participated in community relations projects.
In the Mediterranean Sea, the crew participated in the coalition exercise FRUKUS 2013- conducting live-fire gunnery exercises, rescue-at-sea, divisional tactics and Non-Combatant Evacuation exercises, crew exchanges and port visits with maritime partner nations, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Blaser said exercises such as FRUKUS 2013 further the Navy's goals of interoperability among coalition partners and provide valuable training for the crew.
"Moving forward and working together makes all nations better prepared to meet the maritime challenges of the third millennium," said Blaser.
Nicholas is named for Samuel V. Nicholas (1774-1790), the first officer commissioned in the Continental Naval Service, 28 November 1775 as Captain of the Marines. The ship is slated to be decommissioned in spring 2014.