Friday, January 30, 2009

HMCS Winnipeg to Arabian Sea, Indian and Pacific Oceans

Maritime Forces Pacific news release:
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg will depart Esquimalt next week for a six-month deployment to the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Winnipeg will join Standing NATO Response Force Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) [HMCS Ville de Québec was with the group last year] for part of the mission, while also undertaking training and exercises with navies of the United States, Australia and other countries across Southwest Asia and the Indian Ocean.

SNMG1 is a multinational, integrated maritime force consisting of vessels from various Alliance nations that train and operate together as a single team. For just over two months, Winnipeg, a Halifax-class patrol frigate, will join SNMG1 and deploy through areas such as the Strait of Malacca, Java and the South China sea, an area of the world that is not frequented by NATO fleets.

“As a trading nation, Canada recognizes the importance of maritime security and its impact on Canadian prosperity and stability,” said the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and Minister of the Atlantic Gateway. “HMCS Winnipeg's deployment demonstrates Canada’s ability to address security challenges as they arise, building a safer and more secure maritime environment. It is also a concrete example of the Government of Canada’s commitment to support and contribute to key international bodies such as NATO and the UN.”

Winnipeg’s deployment will strengthen Canada’s long-standing relationships with countries such as Australia and Japan, as well as allow us to reach out to other countries in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Rear-Admiral Tyrone Pile, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific. “I am confident the sailors of HMCS Winnipeg will reinforce the reputation of excellence that Canadian naval personnel enjoy around the world.”

Commanded by Commander Craig Baines, and with a crew of some 240 officers and sailors, the ship, along with a CH124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment, will visit several key countries in the region such as Pakistan, India, Korea, Indonesia and Singapore.

MARPAC frigates HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Regina deployed to the Far East last year. And in 2006 the Ottawa took part in in the Indian Navy-hosted Exercise Malabar, the first ever participation by a Canadian ship.


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