Royal Canadian Navy ships return from Africa

HMC Ships Moncton and Goose Bay

Family members of HMC Ships Moncton and Goose Bay eagerly await the ships’ arrival.

National Defence 
Canadian Armed Forces

Her Magesty’s Canadian Ships Goose Bay and Moncton returned to their homeport of Halifax April 15 after a four-month deployment to western Africa on Operation Projection, in support of security and stability in the region.

Operation Projection (West Africa) includes strategic engagements with regional nations to support capacity building, foster relationships, and make a contribution to the stability necessary to advance security goals in the region.

“Operation Projection (West Africa) 2022 marks the first time in three years our ships have been able to support the mission to the extent that they have,” says Rear-Admiral Brian Santarpia, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic. “I am incredibly proud of our sailors for their success on this deployment – shedding a positive light on Canada from afar. They’ve helped to make a difference not only in the realm of maritime security, but also to the lives of many on the ground through their community engagement efforts. I wish the ships’ companies a warm welcome home. Bravo Zulu for what I know has been a most memorable and rewarding experience.”

Since departing Canada on Jan. 19, the minor warships completed a number of port visits that furthered strategic engagements with allies and regional partners to exchange knowledge and expertise and to strengthen relationships in maritime security.

Sailors visited the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and donated 300 feet of rope from HMCS Oriole to help re-build outdated play structures for the chimpanzees. Additionally, the ships’ companies presented the Canadian High Commissioner with donations of 2,500 feminine hygiene and sanitary products from the military family community in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for furtherance to local charities in Freetown. The effort was in support of a menstrual health campaign in Sierra Leone, to lessen the negative impacts on young women who often cannot go to school or work because they lack education and proper hygiene products.

In Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the ships’ companies left a donation of school supplies to Collège Catholique Saint Jean Bosco de Treichville, as well as a donation of children footwear for other local charitable organisations.

During a port visit to Lagos, Nigeria, sailors participated in a friendly game of chess with the children of Oshodi Underbridge via Chess in Slums Africa, an organization that uses the game of chess to empower children from impoverished backgrounds to learn academic, educational, and critical thinking skills. The event culminated with a donation of chess boards to the organization.

A key port visit to Accra (Tema), Ghana, coinciding with International Women’s Day, provided the ships’ companies the opportunity to showcase female crew members, and demonstrate diversity within the Royal Canadian Navy.

Community relations activities included a donation of books to the State School of the Deaf, where sailors had the opportunity to share their experiences with students and answer questions; and a visit to Right to Play Ghana where a contingent of 30 sailors presented a significant donation of sporting equipment and gear, and participated in friendly sport with the children of the program.

The deployment marked the first deployment for HMCS Goose Bay on Operation Projection (West Africa) and the second for HMCS Moncton.

Led by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, the ships, along with a detachment from the Canadian Armed Forces Naval Tactical Operations Group and a Maritime Operations Centre mentorship team, also participated in Obangame Express 2022 from March 12 to 17 in the Gulf of Guinea region.

It focused on maritime interdiction operations, as well as visit, board, search, and seizure techniques, and sought to assess and improve Gulf of Guinea law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security, inform African maritime law enforcement partnership planning and operations, and shape security force assistance efforts.

The exercise took place in the Gulf of Guinea and included forces from Angola, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United States.

Obangame comes from the Fang language of southern Cameroon and other parts of Central Africa and means “togetherness”, which is symbolic of the spirit of this major exercise.

HMCS Moncton HMCS Goose Bay

Members of HMCS Moncton and HMCS Goose Bay volunteer at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Freetown, Sierra Leone, as part of Operation Projection. Photo: Corporal Jaclyn Buell, Canadian Armed Forces photo

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