Kiwi sailors welcomed as “part of the family” in HMCS Montréal

Navy News / December 5, 2017

By Lieutenant (Navy) Linda Coleman

Four sailors from the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) arrived in Halifax on June 22, 2017 to begin a new adventure. They were selected by their navy to participate in an exchange program with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to progress their training as Marine Technicians.

Able Marine Technicians (AMT) Kaitlyn Collins, Dani McNabb, Kaylen Baty and Kyle Taylor were embarked in HMCS Montréal, which had quite a busy program since their arrival. They sailed for sea trials and CH-148 Cyclone pilot training in July, followed by Operation NANOOK in August with port visits in Nuuk, Greenland, Pond Inlet, Nunavut, and Nain, Labrador. In early September, they departed for Western Europe where they participated in NEPTUNE TRIDENT 17-2, an overarching RCN deployment ‎which included participation in FORMIDABLE SHIELD 2017, a U.S. led, joint NATO live-fire Integrated Air Missile Defence exercise. 

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience,” said AMT Kaylen Baty. “The training atmosphere is great, and I’ve enjoyed meeting different people and seeing new places.”

This exchange has provided them with the opportunity to see parts of the world not often traveled by the RNZN. “One of my favourite parts about this experience has been NEPTUNE TRIDENT and visiting Europe. It was my first time and it was really amazing,” said AMT Dani McNabb.

The sailors arrived in HMCS Montréal as Ordinary Marine Technicians (OMTs) after having completed their shore-based training back in New Zealand. While in HMCS Montréal, they were required to complete their OMT package which involved completing various tasks within all sections of the Marine System Engineering Department, including hull, electrical and engineering.

“The hands-on experience we’re getting is great. Being trained by members of different ranks and having them show and teach me about the equipment, I’m learning so much,” said AMT Baty.

 “The RCN is also larger than ours, so it’s been a great opportunity to sail in a bigger ship,” added AMT McNabb.

They all achieved their Roundsperson qualification and completed their OMT package which resulted in their promotion to AMT. They were promoted by HMCS Montréal’s Commanding Officer during NEPTUNE TRIDENT 17-2, while alongside Glasgow, Scotland.

“It’s been a fantastic experience having these sailors from the RNZN in our ship,” said Commander Chris Sherban, Commanding Officer of HMCS Montréal. “They have not only proven themselves to be very good sailors and technicians, but they’ve also been great ambassadors for New Zealand. Having them in Montréal has strengthened the ties between us and the RNZN and has allowed for an exchange of culture and ideas that will no doubt bear fruit for both of our services.”

According to the Kiwis, the ship’s company of HMCS Montréal also seems to meet the Canadian stereotype of being nice. “Everyone is so positive, polite, respectful and helpful,” said AMT McNabb. “I really like being here, and being part of the team.”

The ship’s company of HMCS Montréal grew quite fond of their Kiwi colleagues. “It was a pleasure to have our New Zealand sailors onboard. They integrated seamlessly into the department and right from the get go were heavily involved in all departmental activities from rounds, to fueling evolutions to maintenance, you name it, they were there,” said their supervisor and Marine Systems Engineering Officer, Lieutenant (Navy) Teri Lafontaine. “They have become a part of our engineering family, the greater Montréal family, and will certainly be missed.”

AMTs Collins, McNabb, Baty and Taylor disembarked from HMCS Montréal in early December, and returned to the RNZN with not only a promotion and new skills, but with new friends and experiences, and a better understanding of the RCN, our culture and how we operate.