HMCS Charlottetown supports NATO’s Operation SEA GUARDIAN

A rescue team on board a ship prepare to descend an inflatable boat into the water during an exercise.
Master Seaman Michael Vandenbrand directs the rescue team during a man-overboard exercise aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Charlottetown during Operation REASSURANCE on November 20, 2017. (Photo: Cpl J.W.S. Houck, Formation Imaging Services)


By Lieutenant (Navy) Meghan Jacques, HMCS Charlottetown Unit Public Affairs Representative

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown, currently deployed on Operation REASSURANCE, began operating in associated support of Operation SEA GUARDIAN in September 2017. Operation SEA GUARDIAN is in consort with Standing NATO Maritime Group One in the Mediterranean Sea.

During the NATO Warsaw Summit in July 2016, NATO announced the transformation of Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, a counter-terrorism mission in the Mediterranean, into a broader maritime security operation with the creation of a new mission: Operation SEA GUARDIAN.

Operation SEA GUARDIAN focuses on three maritime security operational tasks: maritime situational awareness, countering terrorism at sea and maritime security capacity-building.

Four additional tasks can be added quickly if the North Atlantic Council determines the need to do so. These tasks are: freedom of navigation, maritime interdiction, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and protecting critical infrastructure.

Operation SEA GUARDIAN currently provides support to maritime situational awareness and to counter-terrorism at sea, while contributing to overall maritime security capacity-building in the region.

Operating in associated support of NATO’s Operation SEA GUARDIAN means that HMCS Charlottetown conducts hails of local shipping, as required, in order to establish the recognized maritime picture and pattern-of-life in the area.

According to the NATO shipping centre, “Operation SEA GUARDIAN is a non-Article 5 maritime security operation conducted by NATO in the Mediterranean Sea and Strait of Gibraltar and approaches (outside the territorial waters of regional nations).”

Through Operation SEA GUARDIAN, HMCS Charlottetown contributes to the maintenance of a secure and safe maritime environment while supporting NATO’s three core tasks: collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security.

Operation SEA GUARDIAN “supports a safe and secure environment for civilian vessels operating in the Mediterranean Sea” with the goal of facilitating economic activities within the region.

Image gallery

  • A flight crew of six people stand on a ship. A helicopter on board the ship prepares to take off to the right of the photo.
  • A sailor raises a Royal Canadian Navy flag on a ship.
  • A rescue team on board a ship prepare to descend an inflatable boat into the water during an exercise.
  • A sailor coaches another sailor with weapon handling drills on board a ship.
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