May 24 (UPI) -- The littoral combat ship USS Sioux City conducted interdiction exercises with the Dominican Republic navy, the U.S. Navy 4th Fleet announced.
The Freedom-variant LCS joined the Dominican Republic's Defiant-class patrol boat Betelgeuse and 110-foot-class swiftship-class patrol boat Orion on Sunday in an exercise to find, track and intercept a simulated drug-smuggling vessel in the Caribbean Sea.
The USS Sioux City deployed an 11-meter rigid-hulled inflatable boat, as well as its MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter during the exercise.
"Our consistent presence here in 4th Fleet [the U.S. Navy formation covering the South Atlantic Ocean] is vital to combating illegal drug trafficking," said Cmdr. Wade Smith, commanding officer of Sioux City.
"Being able to conduct coordinated interdiction training with our partners in the Dominican Republic helps us all to be more prepared to execute the mission and support our goal of keeping these waters safe for all who navigate them," Smith said.
The USS Sioux City returned to the Caribbean area from its home port, Naval Station Mayport, Fla., where it was berthed after its three-month deployment ended in December 2020.
During that deployment, the ship participated in a multilateral interoperability exercise with the British Royal Navy's HMS Medway and the Jamaican Coast Guard Cutter HMJS Nanny of the Maroons.
With U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 104, the USS Sioux City intercepted about 2,120 kilograms of cocaine, conducted a medical evacuation for a tanker in distress and delivered over 36,000 pounds of supplies for hurricane assistance and disaster relief in Honduras.