Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group finished a scheduled transit through the Strait of Hormuz and is now operating in the Persian Gulf, U.S. Navy officials said Tuesday.
The trip marks the Lincoln's first voyage into the Persian Gulf since being deployed to the region, and comes ahead of the USS Truman and its air wing coming to relieve it.
The Lincoln has been in the area since it was deployed to the Middle East earlier this year after then-National Security Advisor John Bolton called for an increased presence in the region. The vessel and its strike group, however, have spent the last several months in the North Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, with occasional port calls to Duqm, Oman.
The move comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and Iran, but Navy officials stressed that the passage was uneventful as well as "safe and professional."
"The presence of the [Lincoln Strike Group] in the [Persian] Gulf does not represent escalation or a new policy toward Iran," the U.S. 5th Fleet told USNI News on Tuesday.
"A carrier brings immense capabilities wherever it goes," said Capt. Walter Slaughter, commanding officer of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), the flagship of ABESG, in a Navy press release. "We place ourselves where we need to be, when we need to be there, in order to meet the full range of maritime security requirements of the mission at hand."
The Virginian-Pilot reported Monday that the Truman has returned to sea. The vessel had been in port fixing an electrical problem, and is reintegrating its air wing before deployment.