Departing ships mark 12th year of Op CARIBBE

HMCS Whitehorse departs Esquimalt, B.C.
HMCS Whitehorse departs Esquimalt, B.C., for Operation Caribbe. Photo: DND/CAF

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By Sub-Lieutenant M.X. Déry, Lookout – CFB Esquimalt

Year 12 of Operation CARIBBE began with HMCS Edmonton and Whitehorse leaving their home port of Esquimalt, B.C., on February 16, 2018.

Last year the Canadian Armed Forces contributed to the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) seizing or disrupting approximately 11.5 metric tonnes of illicit drugs.

“This is a great opportunity to get over the horizon and to effect things down range,” said Lieutenant-Commander Brian Henwood, the Commanding Officer of HMCS Edmonton.

LCdr Collin Forsberg, Commanding Officer of HMCS Whitehorse, agrees with him, saying the operation has a real impact on the people back home. “It is very rewarding working with the USCG. This is a mission that makes life better for Canadians.”

LCdr Forsberg has deployed twice before on this operation.

Recently, Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander, Maritime Forces Pacific, spoke to media in San Diego, Calif., during the offload of cocaine seized in the last two months of operations in 2017.

“Just as today’s offload represents a part of the record almost 500 000 pounds that was interdicted in 2017, worth about $6.6 billion U.S., a part of today’s offload is also a direct involvement of Canadian participation.”

At the end of a ship’s deployment, the USCG tallies up the amount of drugs seized or disrupted by each ship and awards them with crossed out snowflakes to add to their bridge wings. The snowflakes serve to recognize hard work and instill a sense of pride in the ship’s company.

With a fresh paint job, HMCS Whitehorse departed with a bare bridge wing, while HMCS Edmonton proudly wore seven snowflakes earned on previous deployments.

The objectives of the mission are clear, and there seems to be no hint of rivalry between the commanding officers.

“We are down there to support each other,” said LCdr Henwood. “One ship’s success is a success for the team.”

Image gallery

  • The seven snowflakes earned by HMCS Edmonton are displayed on the ship’s bridge wing.
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