Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The fast transport ship USNS Carson City visited Sudan, the 6th Fleet said on Wednesday, for a port visit meant to begin a partnership with Sudan's military.
The ship, a 337-foot long catamaran designed to carry helicopters and quickly load and unload vehicles, docked in Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, according to the Navy.
It arrived at a time of change in the region, as the first U.S. Navy ship to visit Sudan since a realignment of the U.S. Army's Africa Command in November 2020. U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa are now consolidated into a single command.
The visit comes after Andrew Young, U.S. Africa Command's Deputy Commander for Civil-Military Engagement, and Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, the command's Director of Intelligence, Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, visited Sudan in late January to discuss development of an expanded partnership.
Young called the visit "a moment of fundamental change in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Sudan."
The USNS Carson City's port call was also predicated on diplomatic changes in Sudan.
After the United States imposed sanctions on Sudan for its support of terrorist organizations, notably al-Qaeda, Sudan's agreement to normalize relations with Israel in October 2020 was followed two months later by removal of the country from the U.S. list of countries supporting terrorism.
"This ship's presence visit to Port Sudan is a demonstration of our commitment to strengthening the relationship between the United States and Sudan as the Sudanese people seek a democratic future," Brian Shukan, chargé d'affaires and chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, said in a press release.
"This visit in turn helps to promote peace, security, and preserve freedom of the seas," Shukan said.