Ships pay off


On Sept.19, 2014, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), announced the retirement of four ships that had reached the end of their operational lives: Her

Majesty’s Canadian Ships Protecteur, Preserver, Iroquois and Algonquin.

Each ship has a slightly different story, but the common thread is that all four ships have served Canada and the RCN with honour and distinction.  

Three of the four ships will be “paid off” in ceremonies on their respective coasts this spring and summer.

The term “paying off” refers to the British age-of-sail practice of paying a crew their wages once a ship has completed its voyage. In the RCN, the tradition continues with the term paying off referring to the formal ceremony where the naval jack, ensign and commissioning pennant are hauled down, the crew departs a ship for the last time, and the ship is then no longer referred to as HMCS.

HMCS Protecteur

After 46 years of great service, HMCS Protecteur, one of the RCN’s auxiliary oiler replenishment ships, will be paid off during a ceremony at CFB Esquimalt on May 14.

Constructed in Saint John, New Brunswick, Protecteur was commissioned on Aug. 30, 1969, initially sailing into service with the Atlantic Fleet before transferring to the Pacific Fleet, where she completed her service.

Protecteur took part in numerous operations during her service life, notably deploying to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield in 1991, to Florida as part of the relief effort after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and was part of Canada’s contribution to the multinational task force to assist East Timor from October 1999 to January 2000.

HMCS Preserver

HMCS Preserver has successfully served with the RCN for more than 40 years.

Despite not being used as an at-sea platform anymore, Preserver continues to serve by providing a fueling service to the Atlantic Fleet.

A paying off ceremony for Preserver will be determined at a later date.

The retirement of these vessels has been anticipated for some time and is a step towards the introduction of new ships and capabilities set to be delivered through the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).

For the RCN, the introduction of new ships empowers the sailors of today to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.

All current serving members in the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence civilian employees are welcome to attend any of the paying off ceremonies, which will feature a marching contingent and a final salute from the current crew.

Personnel wishing to view any of the ceremonies should be on the jetty in N1As with medals (military members) or appropriate civilian business attire.

HMCS Iroquois

On Friday, May 1, HMCS Iroquois will receive a final salute from her current and former sailors, soldiers, airmen and airwomen during a ceremony at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax.

This signals the end of the destroyer’s nearly 43 years of distinguished service to the RCN and Canadians.

Commissioned on July 29, 1972, Iroquois sailed with the RCN’s Atlantic Fleet, conducting domestic and international security operations. Notably, the warship was part of Canada’s first response after the terror attacks on Sept.11, 2001.

Iroquois was part of the RCN Naval Task Group that departed Halifax on Oct. 17 of that year to conduct anti-terrorism operations in Arabian Sea.

HMCS Algonquin

HMCS Algonquin will be paid off on Thursday, June 11 at CFB Esquimalt, the ship’s homeport since 1994.

The ship’s illustrious 41 years of service to the RCN include deployments to the Standing Naval Forces Atlantic Task Group, Gulf of Oman for Operation Apollo and the Eastern Pacific to participate in Operation Caribbe. 

All of those operations were part of RCN contributions to international security operations.


Lt(N) Paul Trenholm,

Filed Under: Top Stories


About the Author:

RSSComments (2)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Lookout says:


    For the specifics on the Click here. The link answers in details the number of operational frigates and on which coast they are on.

  2. Denis Arcand says:

    Hi there,

    With these ships being decommissionned, exactly how many operational frigates, support ships and submarines does the Navy have on the Pacific coast ? Is the Athabaskan on the Atlantic or the Pacific side ?



Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.