Royal Canadian Ships Return after four-month deployment

After a four-month deployment sailing in western African waters on Operation PROJECTION, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Goose Bay and Moncton returned to their homeport of Halifax on April 15.

The sailors of HMCS Moncton and Goose Bay were able to conduct many successful port visits and participate in the international Exercise OBANGAME Express 2022.

HMCS Goose Bay

HMCS GOOSE BAY transits out of St. George’s Harbour, Bermuda during Operation PROJECTION, January 24, 2022.

This was HMCS Goose Bay’s maiden (first) deployment on Operation PROJECTION.

“Operation PROJECTION (West Africa) 2022 marks the first time in three years that our ships have been able to support the mission to the extent that they have. 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,” said RAdm. Brian Santarpia, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic.

Members of the Togo Military conduct a clearing exercise aboard HMCS MONCTON off the coast of Ghana, as part of Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS during Operation PROJECTION March 12, 2022. Photo by: Corporal Jaclyn Buell, Canadian Armed Forces photo.

Objectives of Deployment

The Royal Canadian Navy has sailed in support of Operation PROJECTION West Africa since 2018.

According to a press release from the Department of National Defence (DND), Operation PROJECTION “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.”

The operation helps to promote regional stability, capacity building for not only the RCN but key allies and partners, and enhancing relations with key allies in Africa.

Members of HMCS MONCTON participate in a yoga class aboard HMCS MONCTON during Operation PROJECTION off the West Coast of Africa on March 17, 2022. Photo by: Corporal Jaclyn Buell, Canadian Armed Forces photo.

Port Visits

During their deployment, the ships were able to conduct a number of port visits.

“Port visits by HMC Ships Goose Bay and Moncton during this deployment were aimed at improving cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, and to continue building relationships with regional partners,” stated the DND press release.

Cities visited during the four-month deployment included Freetown, Sierra Leone; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; and Dakar, Senegal.

Sierra Leone

Members of HMCS MONCTON and HMCS GOOSE BAY volunteer at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Image courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces.

During their visit to Freetown, Sierra Leone, the ships’ companies hosted two diplomatic receptions attended by the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Mayor of Freetown, and local senior defence staff.

Sailors also visited the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary 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 local charities in Freetown.

According to DND, the effort supported 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.

Ivory Coast

Again, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, the ships’ companies hosted diplomatic receptions with senior Ivorian defence staff in an effort to build connections.

During the visit, the ships’ companies also left a donation of school supplies to Collège Catholique Saint-Jean Bosco de Treichville, as well as a donation of children’s footwear for other local charitable organizations.

Members of the Côte d’Ivoire Military conduct a simulated narcotics search aboard HMCS MONCTON during Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS as part of Operation PROJECTION, off the coast of West Africa on March 14, 2022. Photo by: Corporal Jaclyn Buell, Canadian Armed Forces photo.


Three diplomatic events were held in Lagos, Nigeria. The local Nigerian Navy attended the events as a way to pay respect to their host navy, but also to showcase Royal Canadian Navy capabilities and to exchange knowledge and expertise.

During this port visit, sailors participated in a friendly game of chess with the children of Oshodi Underbridge via Chess in Slums Africa. The organization 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.

Upon departure, the ships’ companies participated in a Cooperative Deployment with the Nigerian Navy, supporting Canada’s interoperability with regional partners to exercise maritime security, and enhance understanding of each navy’s capabilities at sea.


Members of HMCS MONCTON conduct boat drills with the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) while sailing to Ghana during Operation PROJECTION, February 4, 2022. Image courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces.

The ships’ visit to Accra, Ghana, took place during International Women’s Day (IWD). This became an opportunity for the RCN sailors to showcase female crewmembers and demonstrate diversity within our Royal Canadian Navy. During the visit, the ships and sailors participated in four events related to IWD, conducted two community relations events, and hosted one diplomatic reception.

IWD activities included partnering with the Ghana Armed Forces to participate in a speed networking event on the Elsie Initiative, as well as an opportunity to participate in a panel discussion hosted by Global Affairs Canada and Women’s Economic Empowerment-North on women and girls in non-traditional trades.

“Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2022 (OE22) 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,” stated a DND press release.

“Such efforts helped to shed a light on females working in the Royal Canadian Navy in non-traditional trades, and provided opportunities to exchange dialogue on barriers and solutions to facilitating the deployment of more women in operations,” read the DND press release.

Also, while in Ghana, the sailors donated books to the State School of the Deaf. Here, sailors had the opportunity to share their experiences with students and answer any questions. Sailors also visited Right to Play Ghana, where a contingent of 30 sailors presented a significant donation of sporting equipment and gear and participated in friendly sports with children in the program.


HMCS GOOSE BAY conducts a search and rescue exercise with HMCS MONCTION during Operation PROJECTION while sailing towards Dakar, Senegal. Image courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces.

Senegal’s military and government dignitaries attended two diplomatic receptions held by the ships’ companies during their visit to Dakar, Senegal.

A contingent from the ships’ companies presented donations and participated in learning activities with the children of L’Empire des Enfants. The organization provides housing, medical care, and development activities for street children to support their social reintegration.

Sailor First Class Christophe Guida helps members of the Togo Military board HMCS MONCTON, off the coast of Guana during Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS. Image courtesy of Canadian Armed Forces.

OBANGAME Express 2022

From March 12 to 17, HMCS Moncton and HMCS Goose Bay took part in OBANGAME Express 2022 alongside U.S. Naval Forces Africa, a detachment from the Canadian Armed Forces Naval Tactical Operations Group, and a Maritime Operations Centre mentorship team.

The exercise aims to improve cooperation amongst participating nations to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. It focuses on maritime interdiction operations, as well as visit, board, search, and seizure techniques.

“Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2022 (OE22) 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,” stated a DND press release.

Other countries that took part in the exercise included: Angola, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Dem. Rep Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rep of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and the United States.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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