HMCS Vancouver eyes return to sea

Photo by Master Corporal Brent Kenny, MARPAC Imaging Services

Photo by Master Corporal Brent Kenny, MARPAC Imaging Services

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

HMCS Vancouver returns to sea next month following a two-year extended work period.

The ship’s 200-member crew will set sail and operate off Vancouver Island beginning the first week of June for Basic Single Ship Readiness Training (BSSRT), supported by Sea Training Staff.

Together, they will test the Halifax-class frigate’s personnel, systems, and equipment following the extended work period, which involved Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards, Fleet Maintenance Facility, and a number of other external agencies.

“The main intent of the BSSRT process is to find out what things, from a team and, or equipment perspective aren’t working as expected, and work collaboratively with our friends at Sea Training to improve them,” says Cdr Kevin Whiteside, Vancouver’s Commanding Officer.

The success of a warship at sea also depends on how the crew is performing, he adds.

“Sailor’s individual skill sets are maintained very well in the Royal Canadian Navy, but the challenge of leadership during the first phase of our tiered readiness program is to have the ship’s company perform as a team.”

Basic Single Ship Readiness Training is expected to last two weeks and is the first at-sea step in the warship’s Tiered Readiness Program, with the overall intention to have Vancouver ready for international operations in 2022.

The Navigation Officer, Lt(N) Anna Childerhose is crucial to the opening phase of the BSSRT, says Cdr Whiteside. She needs to ensure the ship’s bridge team, navigation suite, and bridge equipment are functioning properly, and work with the ship’s engineers to make sure all engines can provide the power required to the ship’s various systems.

“The navigation side of the house will spend a lot of time working with our combat systems engineer Lt(N) Riley Nabigon to make sure the ship’s many combat systems, including the ship’s radar, are functioning properly to ensure we can operate safely and successfully in international operations,” says Lt(N) Childerhose.

Cdr Whiteside lauded the efforts of Vancouver’s crew during the extended work period. That included the massive job of de-storing and getting the ship ready for its refit, and then restoring, restocking, and restarting all the ship’s systems upon its return from the shipyard. Much of this, he notes, was done under COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions.

“The heart and perseverance of our team has been excellent throughout this work period and it’s unbelievable the amount of work every member has done in collaboration with the many supporting shore agencies to get this ship ready,” he says.

Following their initial time at sea, the crew will return to shore for summer leave, followed by a short work period. The final step of their Tiered Readiness Program will be Intermediate Multi-ship Readiness Training in early 2022, that will allow Vancouver to test its abilities beyond domestic operations with an eye to deployment.


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