In this file photo, USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits through the Arabian Gulf earlier this month. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Tyler Preston)

Update: USS Nimitz (CVN 68) returned to sea Oct. 29 to continue its deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations after brief periods at anchor off Colombo. While the aircraft carrier and its crew of nearly 5,000 could not remain at anchor for the port visit due to unforeseen logistics challenges, other ships assigned to the strike group -- USS Princeton (CG 59), USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100) -- moored in Colombo as planned.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group arrived in Colombo for a port visit, Oct. 28.

The visit follows the recent completion of the inaugural bilateral naval exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Sri Lanka and the U.S. Navy’s participation in Sri Lanka’s Galle Dialogue. USS Nimitz (CVN 68) taking part marks the first time a U.S. carrier has visited Sri Lanka since the now-decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk visited in 1985.

During the visit, Sailors and Marines will have opportunities to explore the local community and meet with their counterparts in the Sri Lankan Navy. They will also have the chance to participate in various community service projects with non-profit organizations in Colombo such as sporting events, and local school and hospital visits to foster positive relations between the two nations.

"Building our maritime partnership advances our shared national goals of fostering security and stability," said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Atul Keshap. "I'm delighted that U.S. Sailors will have the chance to visit Sri Lanka, meet with its wonderful people, and take part in public service activities at schools, hospitals, and rest homes that will improve the lives of Sri Lankans of all ages," he added.

“The crew is excited to experience the life and culture of Colombo,” said Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11. “This is an excellent opportunity to enhance our relationship with the Sri Lankans through cultural exchanges and other engagements. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with so much to offer.”

Nimitz CSG partaking in the port visit are: aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with embarked staff of Carrier Strike Group 11, Destroyer Squadron 9, and Carrier Air Wing 11; guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and guided-missile destroyers USS Howard (DDG 83), USS Shoup (DDG 86), USS Pinckney (DDG 91) and USS Kidd (DDG 100).

The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is currently underway in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region after completing a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. Nimitz is homeported in Bremerton, Wash., while Princeton, Howard and Pinckney are homeported in San Diego and Shoup and Kidd are homeported in Everett, Wash.

While operating in U.S. 7th Fleet, Nimitz will join ongoing efforts to support regional security and stability through continuous naval presence. This forward presence contributes to freedom of navigation and lawful use of the sea, furthers operational training, and enables an exchange of culture, skills, and tactical knowledge.

Distinguished visitors from Sri Lanka observe flight operations aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in the Indian Ocean, Oct. 27. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Emily Johnston)