HMCS Ottawa visits Port Alberni

Lookout staff 

More than two dozen people gathered at the Maritime Discovery Centre Pier in Alberni Inlet to watch HMCS Ottawa arrive at Berth 3 of the Port Alberni Terminals on Aug. 12.

“Ottawa’s visit to Port Alberni was significant given it has been many years since the last time a major warship was alongside,” said Chief Petty Officer First Class (CPO1) Steve Sheffar, Coxswain of HMCS Ottawa.

The Harbour Chieftain fireboat and Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 39 vessel greeted the ship with a water salute while tugs from Pacific Towing Services Ltd. helped guide the ship to the wharf.

A large delegation from the Tseshaht First Nation greeted the ship’s crew with drumming and song. Commander Sam Patchell, the ship’s Captain, then exchanged gifts with the elected Chief Councillor Ken (Wahmeesh) Watts.

HMCS Ottawa offered ship tours to the public the following day. Visitors chatted with the ship’s crew about their roles onboard, including representatives from the Boarding Party, Dive Team, and Marine Technicians. They also checked out different stations on the ship, including the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter on board.

A team from Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting was on-site to provide information about enrolling in the Royal Canadian Navy.

“The ship’s company was welcomed by the community and enjoyed all that was offered while also having the opportunity to do some work, welcoming visitors onboard, and cleaning up parks and grounds around the town,” CPO1 Sheffar said.

Crew members worked on community service projects around the Alberni Valley and visited Royal Canadian Legion Branch 293 to converse with branch members and play pool.

The ship departed the Port Alberni berth Monday morning.

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