HMCS Winnipeg deploys on Ops Neon, Projection

HMCS Winnipeg departed CFB Esquimalt for Operations Projection and Neon on Aug. 17.  Photo by S1 Mike Goluboff, MARPAC Imaging Services, Esquimalt

HMCS Winnipeg departed CFB Esquimalt for Operations Projection and Neon on Aug. 17. Photo by S1 Mike Goluboff, MARPAC Imaging Services, Esquimalt

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

Last Tuesday, HMCS Winnipeg departed Esquimalt harbour on a four-month deployment in support of its allies in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Friends and family of the crew and senior leadership were among the well-wishers gathered on A Jetty in HMC Dockyard to say good-bye to the 258 crewmembers.

Winnipeg is taking over Operations Projection and Neon from HMCS Calgary, which is set to return home at the end of August.

Under the mandate of Operation Projection, Winnipeg will conduct forward naval presence operations in the region to further strengthen Canada’s relations with partners in the area.

Operation Neon is Canada’s contribution of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea. This mission includes conducting surveillance operations to identify suspected maritime sanction evasion activities.

Winnipeg is heading off to a part of the world where there are stresses, strains and great power competition, and certain international laws, human rights issues, and those evolutions in that part of the world are not necessarily going in a direction that is in Canada’s national interests,” said Commodore David Mazur, Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, before the ship left. “As a tool of our national power, the navy has been asked to maintain a presence in that part of the world and Winnipeg is taking up that torch, which is very important.”

Winnipeg’s Commanding Officer, Commander Doug Layton echoed the Commodore’s comments noting that Canada’s “unwavering resolve and commitment” to allies and partners is important to freedom and navigation rights in the region.

Winnipeg’s deployment will also be an opportunity to showcase [Canada’s] values of dignity and respect for all human life,” he added. “All of us enjoy this in this country, and for the next four or so months know your family members will play a part in ensuring this basic human right for all the world’s citizens.” 

Winnipeg has seen wholesale changes to its crew since completing its last deployment in December 2020. In April, CPO1 Line Laurendeau was appointed as the ship’s Coxswain.

She says the ship and crew underwent a robust training schedule to prepare for their mission. There has also been an adjustment in the sailors’ deployment routines, she says, as many had yet to be deployed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through all the training requirements it was critical the new Winnipeg team learn and adapt to the new COVID-19 environment while on operation.”

With port visits uncertain during the deployment because of the pandemic, maintaining the morale of her sailors will be a critical piece to the mission, she says. The ship has a team who are planning special events and activities to ensure spirits are kept up.   

Prior to its exit from the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the Pacific Ocean, the Halifax-class frigate conducted a sail past by Saxe Point, Macaulay Point, Clover Point, and Haring Point.

For more information on deployment support programs for family members of Winnipeg’s crew, visit the MFRC’s deployment webpage at:


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