Each time Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Lucas Kenward deploys on Operation CARIBBE, he believes it further proves what the Royal Candian Navy (RCN) can do on an international stage. On his third deployment to the Pacific, Kenward’s and his crew aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Edmonton confiscated 1900 kg of narcotics, in only a matter of months.
“Each time we’ve had success when we come down here. When we come down here it just proves what the RCN is doing in support of the Government of Canada and our allies, is of great benefit. And we are definitely looking forward to getting back home to celebrate our success with our friends and family,” said Kenward.
The crew set sail on Feb. 12 from Esquimalt and made a stop in San Diego to finalize their training for the deployment. HMCS Edmonton spent the duration of its deployment in the Eastern Pacific Coast off of Mexico and also Guatemala.
While sailing on the open sea, and with the help of the Maritime patrol aircraft, RCN sailors keep an eye out for suspicious vessels, generally described as “panga boats” that travel at high speeds.The patrol aircrafts keep an eye on suspicious vessels to track where they are going. The aircrafts then signal the nearest ship to get a visual confirmation, and if needed, stop the vessel and search it.
During the deployment, HMCS Edmonton, and her crew hit the jackpot three times. On March 24 the crew confiscated or disrupted 650 kg of illicit drugs, on March 29 660 kg, and on the third of April, they confiscated 650 kg of narcotics.
The deployment was hailed as being highly successful.
“I’m obviously ecstatic at the performance of the ship’s company. It’s very important we work closely with our law enforcement detachment. This has been a very successfully deployment not just for the ship, obviously, in terms of the Government of Canada and participating with our Allies in combating transnational criminal organizations and their ability to transport narcotics to some countries into Allied nations,” noted Kenward.
Even during the down time the crew remains on their toes. Sailors take part in various exercises to maintain their operational readiness including simulated fire exercises and the use of small boats to ensure “boat crews are confident and capable in using the boats.”
“In a deployment of this length, the crew grows together very closely as a family. A lot of people conduct physical fitness activities just to keep themselves fit and engaged in the program. So, it is a busy deployment. Even in the downtime we are engaged in supporting those law enforcement operations,” said Kenward.
HMCS Edmonton and her crew are expected to return to Canadian soil by the end of the month.
Featured image: A United States Coast Guard (USCG) H-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka, Alaska, hovers over the deck of HMCS EDMONTON as a USCG rescue swimmer and Royal Canadian Air Force search and rescue technician are hoisted on board during a search and rescue exercise held on April 30, 2013, off the coast of Prince Rupert, B.C. Photo: Private Dan Moore, 19 Wing Imaging