US destroyer conducts freedom of navigation operation in South China Sea

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea, Aug. 27.

US NAVY photo

The U.S. Navy conducts freedom of navigation operations, or FONOPs, to contest excessive maritime claims and reinforce laws of the sea in international waters. USS Mustin, based in Yokosuka, Japan, conducted the FONOP in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands to ensure critical shipping lanes in the area remain free and open.

More than $5 trillion in international trade transits the South China Sea each year. Ships assigned to the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet routinely conduct FONOPs in the region to refute illegal claims to international waters and limitations of freedom of navigation, and USS Mustin’s operation demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet coordinates with 35 maritime nations in the region to build relationships, foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict. CPF.NAVY.MIL