HMCS Vancouver completes its contribution to Operation PROJECTION in Asia-Pacific
By Lieutenant (Navy) Tony Wright, Public Affairs Officer, HMCS Vancouver
Canada is a Pacific nation, and the Asia-Pacific region is important to Canada’s security and prosperity.
On April 3rd, HMCS Vancouver left Esquimalt for a four and a half month deployment on Operation PROJECTION Asia-Pacific. Its mission was to engage with partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific and support Global Affairs Canada diplomatic initiatives. The ship visited China, Singapore, Australia, and Fiji.
The first official port visit of Operation PROJECTION Asia-Pacific was Hong Kong, which was significant considering China’s influence in the region. Joining the ship in Hong Kong was Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Rear Admiral Gilles Couturier; Canada’s Consul General to Hong Kong, Jeff Nankivell; and Canada’s Ambassador to China, the Honourable John McCallum.
By the end of Vancouver’s eight day visit, officers and crew had conducted official calls on People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region leadership. They also had a friendly soccer game between the PLAN and Vancouver, several ships’ tours on HMCS Vancouver and the PLAN Ship Huizhou, an academic roundtable, and a reception on board Vancouver.
With the Boomer’s Legacy Fund, the ship made a donation to Kids4Kids. This non-profit organization supports literacy development and youth empowerment for children in Hong Kong.
On departing Hong Kong, HMCS Vancouver and PLAN Ship Huizhou conducted a Passing Exercise or PASSEX. HMCS Vancouver and Huizhou practiced manoeuvres and search and rescue procedures. For a Western country, conducting a ship-to-ship exercise with the PLAN is a rare opportunity.
Next, in Singapore, HMCS Vancouver supported Global Affairs Canada. They held a reception for government workers and officials. Volunteers from the ship also spent a day with Movement for Intellectually Disabled Singapore. They helped to serve lunch to clients with developmental or mobility needs.
Thanks to Boomer’s Legacy Fund, the ship, made another charitable donation, this time to Singapore Children’s Society.
Vancouver’s next port was Cairns, Australia. The ship was joined by Commander, Canadian Fleet Pacific, Commodore Jeff Zwick. They hosted a reception for regional stakeholders and accepted an invitation by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for an “Introduction to Australian Sports”. Members of the ship’s company were introduced to cricket, hand ball, and soccer (although many of them had heard of soccer before).
Suva, Fiji was the ship’s next and final port. HMCS Vancouver was joined by Commander Naval Reserves, Commodore Marta Mulkins. It was supported by the Naval Security Team. This naval team provides enhanced force protection for the safety and security of deployed RCN ships and personnel.
While there, the ship hosted a reception for local stakeholders. Also, over 60 volunteers from the ship dedicated a day to help fix up and expand the facilities of Homes of Hope, a local charity working with young women and children who are victims of, or are vulnerable to, sexual exploitation.
After leaving Fiji, Vancouver joined an Australian-New Zealand task group of ships. They conducted exercises together before arriving in Hawaii to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) in Hawaii.
“This mission was a demonstration,” said HMCS Vancouver’s Commanding Officer, Commander Christopher Nucci. “A demonstration of Canada’s ability to project our forces around the world in support of national interests, our commitment to security and stability in this region, and also of the valuable contributions Canada can make here. I’m confident that we have succeeded in our mission and that we have demonstrated to everyone we’ve met on this deployment the importance Canada places on the Asia-Pacific.”
Vancouver is now in Pearl Harbor. After successfully completing Operation PROJECTION Asia-Pacific, the ship is participating in RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval exercise.
It is scheduled to return home to Esquimalt, B.C. in mid-August.
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