New leader at the helm of HMCS Saskatoon

HMCS Saskatoon sails in formation with United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Blueshark during a PhotoEX with HMCS Yellowknife and USCGC Osprey as the formation prepares for their upcoming deployment to Operation Caribbe on February 17, 2022. Photo: MARPAC Imaging Services

Capt(N) Timothy Blois 
Operation Caribbe Public Affairs Officer

A change of command ceremony for HMCS Saskatoon took place Friday, May 20 at Y jetty between out-going ship commander Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Nadia Shields and in-coming commander LCdr Michael Vanderveer. Overseeing the ceremony was Commander S. G. Kelly, Commander Coastal Division (Pacific).

The ceremony marked two years since LCdr Shields took command of Saskatoon. During her command, she deployed twice on Operation Caribbe, contributing to the seizure and destruction of over 5,000 kilograms of cocaine and preventing them from potentially hitting the streets of Canada. Highlights of her time in command also included circumnavigating Vancouver Island and being the first Commanding Officer of a Kingston-class vessel to use demolitions in a theatre of operations. LCdr Shields will now become the Officer-In-Charge of Patrol Vessels Sea Training (Pacific).

“I went through the achievements of Saskatoon and I realized it wasn’t the miles steamed, time away from family, or our mission accomplishments that made this an amazing time for me as a Commanding Officer. It was that if I was given the opportunity to take command again, I would choose this crew every single time,” she says.

LCdr Michael Vanderveer has a wealth of experience, including operational tours with HMCS Regina on Operations Artemis and Reassurance. He has been a bridge watchkeeper, instructor for the Fleet Navigation Course, Operations Officer, Weapons Officer, and Executive Assistant to the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific.

In looking forward to his command, LCdr Vanderveer remarks he is excited to have this opportunity.

“Coming down to Y jetty and working with a small but capable team is one of the greatest experiences to have in the navy,” he says. “At all ranks and in all positions, the opportunities and responsibilities sailors receive here is beyond compare, and it’s a remarkable way to build a more capable and empowered force.”

HMCS Saskatoon is set to spend time at home for planned maintenance before attending the Seattle Sea Fair in August and September. Then the ship will head out for a six-week search and rescue zone patrol north of Vancouver.

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