Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships operating in Canada’s Arctic waterways

Navy News / August 27, 2015

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) deployed four ships to Arctic waters this summer, continuing the RCN’s presence in the Canadian Arctic.

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Nanaimo and Saskatoon departed from Esquimalt, B.C., on August 4, 2015, to join Operation NANOOK.

HMC Ships Nanaimo and Saskatoon deployed to the Western Arctic for seven weeks, participating in Op NANOOK, and conducted port visits in Tuktoyaktuk, Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok. As well, when HMCS Nanaimo visits Ulukhaktok, it will be the farthest east any Canadian Fleet Pacific ships have ever deployed in the Arctic.

On the east coast, HMC Ships Shawinigan and Moncton departed Halifax on August 10, 2015, to join Operation QIMMIQ for eight weeks and will operate in the Eastern Arctic.

HMCS Shawinigan will support the Northern Watch project, strengthening Arctic surveillance and monitoring capabilities in conjunction with Defence Research and Development Canada in the Eastern Arctic.

HMCS Moncton will work with other governmental departments in the search for the Franklin Expedition. This year’s operation will include a joint effort between the Department of National Defence and Parks Canada to conduct an underwater archaeological survey of HMS Erebus and continue the search for HMS Terror.

Operations in the Arctic provide a unique opportunity to practise specialized skills and further develop the capacity to operate in austere locations and challenging environments. For example, the Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) will deploy to Operation NANOOK, conducting dive operations in Sachs Harbour and Tuktoyaktuk. The dive team will be equipped with a Bottom Object Inspection Vehicle to conduct surveillance of underwater topography.

The skills and knowledge acquired through these operations will be invaluable as the new Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships begin their service in the coming years.

Operation NANOOK takes place annually in several locations across Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It is the largest sovereignty operation in the Canadian Arctic.

Operation QIMMIQ is the Joint Task Force (North) surveillance and presence operation conducted continuously throughout the year in Canada’s North.