HMCS Yellowknife conducts training with Allies on Operation CARIBBE

Silhouettes of crewmembers on board a ship making signs to a nearby helicopter about to land on the deck of the ship. The sun begins to set in the background.
A crewmember onboard HMCS YELLOWKNIFE and members of a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Maritime Security Response Team await the arrival of a United States Navy MH-60 helicopter for a training exercise during Operation CARIBBE, in the Pacific Ocean on March 25, 2019. Photo: Captain Annie Morin XC54-2019-0001-002

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By Captain Annie Morin, Operation CARIBBE Public Affairs Officer

As professionals, it’s our responsibility to train and remain proficient and effective in our respective domains. When an opportunity came up for training with our American allies, the ship’s company of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Yellowknife was up for the task.

Over the course of March 25th, members of United States Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team-West supported by MH-60 helicopters of the United States Navy, trained to re-certify team members on imperative competencies needed to maintain individual, team, and unit operability.

Specifically, the training was meant to simulate the taking over of a vessel using a helicopter as a way to board. This combination of the Kingston-class Canadian ship, the United States Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team-West, and the United States Navy helicopters for the exercise was somewhat unusual but nonetheless beneficial for the members…and to be honest, quite entertaining to see.

Picture a helicopter hovering 10 meters above the deck of the ship, members of the United States Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team-West coming down on ropes, tactically moving onboard ship to critical areas onboard to control a ship, then when the task was completed, being hoisted back up before departing.

Opportunities such as these allow for the Royal Canadian Navy, the United States Navy, and the United States Coast Guard to exercise their interoperability. In an environment that is ever challenging and demanding, training with Allies enables each party to understand how each other work as well as identify and overcome potential barriers to success for real life operations.

Crewed by 45 members, including members of the United States Coast Guard, HMCS Yellowknife is deployed on Operation CARIBBE along with HMCS Whitehorse, Canada’s contribution to Operation MARTILLO, a U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) operation responsible for conducting interagency and international detection and monitoring operations and facilitating the interdiction of illicit trafficking.

Image gallery

  • Silhouettes of crewmembers on board a ship making signs to a nearby helicopter about to land on the deck of the ship. The sun begins to set in the background.
  • A helicopter hovers over the deck of a sailing ship. A person repels down from the helicopter onto the ship.
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