Naval Tactical Operations Group

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) relies on various groups and units within its organization to ensure that its ships and personnel are protected, both at home in Canada and around the world.

One such group is the Naval Tactical Operations Group (NTOG), a full-time dedicated unit within the RCN that specializes in advanced boarding operations at sea. This includes maritime interdiction operations, which is the interception of suspect vessels in order to prevent the movement of illicit cargo and materiel at sea. Additional duties include force protection which entails protecting Navy ships, infrastructure and personnel all over the world.

In addition to working domestically with other government departments and Canadian Armed Forces units, in support of the Government of Canada’s Strong, Secure, Engaged Defence Policy, NTOG team members also deploy globally to assist Canada’s international security partners to build and develop their own maritime capabilities.

Relationship with a ship's company

Traditionally, Naval Boarding Parties are made up of regular members of an RCN ship’s crew who perform the task as a secondary duty. These boarding parties are used to investigate typical vessels of interest, such as merchant ships, in support of Government of Canada and NATO missions.

When an NTOG team is deployed, it augments a ship’s company for a specific mission or period of time. The NTOG team enhances a ship’s ability to conduct maritime interdiction operations that might have a higher than usual risk, and provide more robust force protection capabilities during transits or port visits where there are high security threats.

Furthermore, NTOG teams provide their ship with additional security and planning capabilities during evacuations of civilian non-combatants, as well as during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

Operations

Since its inception in 2014, NTOG teams have supported RCN ships and personnel all over the world. Recent operations that NTOG teams have supported include:

Structure

NTOG Headquarters is located at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt (Albert Head), B.C., and reports directly to the Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific. The headquarters is augmented by the East Coast Detachment, located at Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard Halifax.

At present, the unit consists of approximately 50 personnel, located on both coasts, and is comprised of sailors from both the Regular Force and Naval Reserve.