Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Kingston (HMCS) and HMCS Summerside departed on their first deployment of Operation REASSURANCE to support NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.
The ships set sail on June 26, 2022, for a four-month deployment in the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic region. They replaced HMCS Halifax and HMCS Montreal, which just returned to Canadian shores on July 15, 2022, after a long deployment on Operation Reassurance.
“I would like to wish fair winds and following seas to HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside as they depart for Operation REASSURANCE in the European region. These professional sailors will join Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One; and will contribute unique strengths of a clearance diving team and mine countermeasure search capabilities to NATO’s high readiness continuous at sea presence. Their work will bolster the assurance and deterrence measures under the NATO flag, on behalf of Canada,” said Capt. (N) Julian Elbourne, Chief of Staff, Maritime Forces Atlantic Command.
About the Deployment
HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside will join Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One between July and October, according to the Department of National Defence. The ships will also participate in NATO’s high readiness continuous at sea presence.
During its deployment, HMCS Summerside will deploy with an embarked Royal Canadian Navy clearance diving team, according to a DND press release.
“I am very proud of our team, our shipmates in HMCS Kingston, and members of the Fleet Diving Unit, deploying on Operation REASSURANCE. It is an honour to be part of Canada’s commitment to working with NATO allies in the region as we operate in the European region. To our families, friends, loved ones and the greater defence community: thank you for your constant support,” said Commander Jeffrey Anderson, Commander, Commanding Officer HMCS Summerside.
HMCS Summerside can undertake this task with the support of mine countermeasure search capabilities using autonomous underwater vehicles aboard HMCS Kingston.
“After months of preparation and training, I’m very proud of our shipmates in HMCS Summerside and Fleet Diving Unit. We are ready to continue the work on Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s commitment to working with NATO to strengthen stability and security in central and eastern Europe. We are all leaving someone at home who cares about us, to them we owe the biggest thanks as their strength enables our success,” said LCmdr. Jason Knowles, Commanding Officer HMCS Kingston.
Continued Support to NATO
The RCN’s participation in NATO objectives provides Canada “with the flexibility to execute a range of exercises and operations in real training environments with our international Allies,” according to DND.
The Canadian Armed Forces’ participation in Operation Reassurance furthers international efforts in the Baltic region, including surveillance, monitoring, and diplomatic engagement.
Since 2014, the CAF has maintained a presence in European waters.
“Canadian Armed Forces members are proud and honored to serve on Operation REASSURANCE. Their contribution further increases the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to collaborate with other NATO nations by building on the achievements of previous rotations and continuing to develop their own capabilities in working with our Allies to enhance NATO readiness,” stated a DND press release.