HMC Ships Moncton and Goose Bay on West African deployment

Lieutenant(N) Yichen Xia takes precise bearings aboard HMCS Moncton. Photo by Corporal Jaclyn Buell, Canadian Armed Forces

Royal Canadian Navy 
Public Affairs

Crew members from HMC Ships Moncton and Goose Bay are currently deployed to promote maritime safety and security in West Africa, building relationships everywhere along the way.

The Kingston-class ships are working alongside partners and allies on Operation Projection (West Africa) and Exercise Obangame Express 2022.

The mission includes strategic engagements with allies and regional nations to foster relationships in maritime security. It aims to build on the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) ability to demonstrate to partner nations its readiness to effectively respond to a wide range of security threats, both abroad and at home.

Sailors on both ships take pride in giving back to local communities while in port, including playing the occasional soccer game with children.

“Getting the opportunity to play soccer with local kids in Tema, Ghana, was an amazing experience,” says Sailor First Class (S1) Curtis Skinner, a Marine Technician aboard Moncton “To see the happiness we brought to the children with something as simple as a pick-up game of soccer is the memory I’ll keep with me from this deployment.”

Both ships participated in Obangame Express, conducting maritime interdiction operations, as well as practising visit, board, search, and seizure techniques with partners and allies. This operation was led by U.S. Naval Forces Africa and is designed to improve cooperation amongst participating nations.

“On our first day of OE22, we were stationed off the coast of Benin in West Africa,” says Sub- Lieutenant (SLt) Kathleen Wudrick. “Goose Bay was role-playing as a vessel smuggling oil. The Benin Navy came to our location, conducted a hailing exercise, and eventually boarded us, searching for smuggled goods, which in this case was oil.”

The second day of the exercise saw Goose Bay stationed off the coast of Ghana where the Ghanaian Navy conducted boarding exercises with one of their helicopters assisting.

In other missions, Moncton served as a target ship while helping the Togolese Navy simulate a human trafficking vessel boarding. Goose Bay worked with the Nigerian Navy to develop a greater knowledge and understanding of operating conditions within the Gulf of Guinea region.

“I was very impressed with the professionalism and seamanship shown by the Nigerian Navy when we conducted a fleet manoeuvring exercise with them,” said Goosebay’s S1 Cedric Meehan. “The Nigerians were on the ball, and the manoeuvring went off without a hitch, finishing with all the ships involved, manning the rails and cheering each ship on as we conducted a sail past.”

During their time in the region, the ships will conduct cooperative deployments with partner navies, including Italy, Denmark, and the United States.

Moncton recently trained alongside the Italian Naval Vessel Luigi Rizzo, where crew conducted a passing exercise using light signal communications, sailing in close proximity to one another to enhance naval cooperation.

In addition to the Kingston-class ships deployed, there is a shore-based contingent conducting training and capacity-building through CAF liaison officers, a Naval Tactical Operations Group, and a Maritime Operations Centre mentorship team.

Members of the Togo Military conduct a clearing exercise aboard HMCS Moncton off the coast of Ghana. Photo by Corporal Jaclyn Buell, Canadian Armed Forces

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