HMCS Ottawa enters South China Sea

HMCS Ottawa enters South China Sea

SLt Kassandra O’Rourke, HMCS Ottawa ~

The shorelines were turquoise and the seas were calm as HMCS Ottawa entered the South China Sea to come alongside Malaysia.

Travelling in consort with HMCS Winnipeg, Ottawa is deployed for Poseidon Cutlass 17-1 to bolster Canadian diplomatic engagement and defence relations while developing their sailors in a world entirely new to most onboard.

The ship left CFB Esquimalt March 6 and proceeded south along North America’s west coast. They conducted a successful missile exercise and then proceeded across the Pacific Ocean to Pearl Harbor. The crew enjoyed shore leave at the surf, the beaches, and a Luau before bringing Sea Training Pacific on board for Directed Ship’s Readiness Training.

The transit from Hawaii to Guam was gruelling as the heat and humidity turned up, but the team proved strong and able as they underwent training that consisted of fires, floods, man overboards, hazardous material spills, mass casualties, simulated explosions, and elaborate battle situations.

Ottawa’s team, under the watchful eye of Sea Training, developed the skills needed to meet the challenges of the environment they would soon enter. After successfully completing this milestone, the crew celebrated their achievement and admission into the high-readiness state by swimming in the Mariana Trench – the deepest part of the world.

Leading Seaman Madeline Kuiper noticed the changes in Ottawa’s crew and said, “We worked really well together during the mission work up program. People can become very negative when undertaking a busy schedule, but the team was optimistic. I think the team has melded together over the past two months, and we continue to build stronger relationships with each other as time goes on.”

After a few days to refresh in beautiful Guam, the ship set sail for the Philippines. On completion of a busy month, the daily schedule was more relaxed and the crew had time to catch up on other necessary administration work. Showing the dedication and expertise expected from the team, the engineers worked tirelessly to rectify engineering challenges that kept Ottawa on track to arrive in Manila.

After one night in Manila, Ottawa and Winnipeg departed to meet up with Australian ship HMAS Ballarat, who joined the Canadian warships on their journey towards Malaysia. Each ship exchanged crew members over three days. SLt Campbell, who spent a day with the Australian consort, described his experience in Ballarat as a good opportunity to see the similarities and differences between fellow professionals.

“As a Commonwealth partner, the Australians operate in a similar manner to the RCN, making them very easy to integrate with,” he said. “We use a common professional language and similar manning constructs, although HMAS Ballarat does have a slightly smaller crew than a Canadian Halifax class frigate.”

The joint exercise had a busy training schedule that consisted of anti-submarine drills, high speed manoeuvres and helicopter operations.

The crew is ready for its rest and maintenance period in Malaysia. Although the team will be required initially to support a diplomatic engagement, the time alongside will provide the sailors an opportunity to recharge and reconnect with loved ones while reflecting on the superb memories made so far. Chief Boatswain Mate, Chief Petty Officer Second Class John Kranz, shared his favourite part of the trip so far.

“It has been the young sailors that I have within my department as well as on board. I am living vicariously through them again. I see them with wide eyes as we complete Replenishment at Sea or when coming alongside in a foreign port – it is just the sheer excitement they have for everything. It is allowing me to look into the past and see me when I saw that first new place or had that first experience at sea.”

Ottawa will recuperate over the coming 12 days before departing to participate in the International Navy Review in Singapore in mid-May.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (2)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Lisa says:

    My daughter, Madeline Kuiper, was on board during this deployment. 😊

  2. Dave says:

    My son Kyle is on the Ottawa..

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.