Passing Exercise with Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force

Two ships sail next to one another. The sky is a pale blue, while the water is a bright, electric blue.
Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force ships MAKINAMI and KASHIMA conduct a PASSEX with HMCS VILLE DE QUEBEC during Operation REASSURANCE, 01 Aug 18. (Photo: MCpl Andre Maillet, MARPAC Imaging Services)

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By Lieutenant(N) Béchard, HMCS Ville de Québec Bridge Watch Keeper, Operation REASSURANCE

On August 1st, 2018, HMCS Ville de Québec met with Japanese training ship JS KASHIMA and TAKANAMI-class destroyer JS MAKINAMI in the Western Mediterranean sea for a passing exercise (PASSEX). The goal was to increase interoperability between NATO and the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force, as well as strengthen ties between partner nations and Allies.

The exercise included multiple serials planned over the afternoon. First, the bridge teams were able to practice their ship handling and radio procedures skills through fleet manoeuvres. After that, each ship got the opportunity to conduct replenishment at sea approaches. The replenishment at sea was conducted in a ‘leap frog’ approach by the three ships in sequence.

“As a junior bridge watch keeper, it was a great opportunity to be able to drive my first replenishment at sea approach on a Japanese ship,” said Sub-Lieutenant Antoine Blais, a Bridge Watch Keeper onboard Ville de Québec.

Following the replenishment at sea approaches, the ships skillfully drove into formation to allow JS MAKINAMI’s SH-60 helicopter to take pictures. Prior to detaching the ships, a farewell pass was conducted to wish fair winds and following seas to our Japanese consorts as they continued Westward.

Once the ships left the formation, JS MAKINAMI’s helicopter proceeded with valuable training with HMCS Ville de Québec. The helicopter landed on the Canadian ship so that their crew could exchange gifts with the Commanding Officer, Commander Scott Robinson. Operating with a foreign helicopter provided a great training opportunity for the air detachment and the shipborne air controllers, who rose to the challenge of operating with a foreign aircraft.

Overall, the brief exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force was a success and led to a better understanding of our partners’ operating procedures. The ship’s company appreciated this first encounter with a partner during this deployment and the opportunity to practice task group procedures ahead of joining with units of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 in the upcoming weeks.

Image gallery

  • A sailor on board a ship observes the direction in which a nearby ship is sailing.
  • Two ships sail next to one another. The sky is a pale blue, while the water is a bright, electric blue.
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