The USS Gerald Ford, America’s most powerful aircraft carrier, docked at the Souda Bay anchorage in western Crete on Tuesday morning, marking its return to the region after three weeks. The warship approached Berth K14 at the NATO base of Marathi with the assistance of tugboats.

Measuring an astounding 337 meters in length and boasting a displacement of roughly 100,000 tons, the carrier accommodates a sizable crew of 6,000 USN officers and sailors. Shore leave, in groups, will be granted to crewmembers for the nearby port-city of Chania (Hania).

The USS Gerald Ford is considered as the model vessel in its class. It is powered by two nuclear reactors, employs an electromagnetic aircraft launch system and features a range of other cutting-edge innovations. With a top speed of 30 knots, the carrier can accommodate more than 75 aircraft of various capabilities.

As with previous such port calls, the presence of the US warship and its attending carrier group vessels at Souda generated a reaction by the Communist Party (KKE), which again called for an end to all foreign military presence on the large island. The far-left party also called for a protest in central Chania on Thursday.