Minister MacKay announces continued Canadian naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea

HALIFAX – The Hon­ourable Peter MacK­ay, Min­is­ter of Nation­al Defence, today announced that Roy­al Cana­di­an Navy ships will main­tain a pres­ence in the Mediter­ranean Sea until the end of 2012 in order to join Oper­a­tion Active Endeav­our, the NATO counter-ter­ror­ism effort in the region.

Her Majesty’s Cana­di­an Ship (HMCS) Van­cou­ver, orig­i­nal­ly deployed as part of Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor, will remain in the Mediter­ranean until ear­ly 2012, when she will be relieved by HMCS Char­lot­te­town. HMCS Van­cou­ver and her CH-124 Sea King Heli­copter detach­ment have been in the Mediter­ranean Sea since August, when she joined the NATO fleet off Libya as part of Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor.

“I com­mend the crew and lead­er­ship of HMCS Van­cou­ver for their hard work and con­tri­bu­tion to Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor. Cana­da will now project its lead­er­ship role in NATO by con­tribut­ing to anti-ter­ror­ism,” said Min­is­ter MacK­ay. “I’m proud of what our forces have accom­plished in the area, and I have con­fi­dence our con­tin­ued pres­ence in the Mediter­ranean will help detect and deter ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties.”

HMCS Vancouver’s tasks while on Oper­a­tion Active Endeav­our include locat­ing, track­ing, report­ing and board­ing ves­sels of inter­est sus­pect­ed of involve­ment in ter­ror­ism. Although their man­date is lim­it­ed to detec­tion and deter­rence of activ­i­ties relat­ed to ter­ror­ism, the NATO fleet deployed on Oper­a­tion Active Endeav­our has con­tributed to enhanced secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty in the Mediter­ranean Sea.

“I’m proud of the ser­vice and accom­plish­ments of the crew of HMCS Van­cou­ver dur­ing Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor. Their tran­si­tion to anoth­er NATO duty, and con­tin­ued pres­ence in the Mediter­ranean makes great sense,” said Gen­er­al Walt Natynczyk, the Chief of the Defence Staff. “Cana­di­an secu­ri­ty begins abroad. Our frigate will con­tribute to an impor­tant ongo­ing inter­na­tion­al oper­a­tion and will fur­ther sup­port Cana­di­an inter­ests over­seas. We will con­tin­ue to work along­side our NATO allies to build upon our suc­cess­es and to bring sta­bil­i­ty to the region.”

HMCS Van­cou­ver depart­ed her home port of Esquimalt, B.C., on July 10, 2011, bound for the Mediter­ranean Sea to relieve HMCS Char­lot­te­town. For more than two months, HMCS Van­cou­ver patrolled the in-shore waters off the embat­tled Libyan ports of Mis­ra­ta, Tripoli, Tobruk, and Sirte as part of Com­bined Task Group 455.01. That task­ing end­ed on Octo­ber 31, 2011, with the suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion of Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor.

HMCS Char­lot­te­town will sail from her home port of Hal­i­fax in Jan­u­ary 2012.

Depart­ment of Nation­al Defence, Cana­da

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